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Pastor's Commentary

The 3 R's
Sunday, January 03 2021

            Happy New Year from LTWM, we are optimistic this year has to be better than the last one; however, factors remain to be seen as yet. A new year brings time to reflect upon the past, and to assess where we are heading in the up-coming year/s ahead. In navigation, a few degrees off course could take one many miles in a direction not intended. It is par for any course to make adjustments along the way; I hope the people of the good old U.S.A do just that. Assuming there is a course to take for a good and expected end, part of the discernment process has to be analyzing what it is that has altered our; as a Nation’s course. Many folks are no doubt wondering, how in the world did we end up “here”? It is with that thought I would like to present some thoughts that I believe have went a long ways to bring us as a Nation to this point in time. There is little doubt the spiritual side of this equation has much to with the over-all direction of any people, but there is another side to this issue I would like to present in this brief column that I think has played a major role in altering our over-all direction.

           

I admit I am old school, born in the forties and attended school in the 50’s and 60’s, many have called these the golden years of our Nation. This group of people has been referred to as the original baby boomers. We “war babies” (people born of returning WW II veterans) flooded the school system back in our day, and are now flooding the Social Security System nowadays. Yes; that means, we are the senior citizens of our day now. But the point I want to make is this, even though we maxed out or stretched the school system; we got a good education (the norm back then). There were basics to learn, not waste of time garbage one would never use or need. We not only learned what was needed to make a decent living after we graduated, but we learned how to think, process information. Many folks reading this would say, you have to be kidding, I didn’t get that in school. We had shop classes that taught us a trade; you didn’t have to pursue that trade if you decided later something else was more you’re calling. There was a slogan that I was given to place in my school/class notebook that I never forgot to this day; “He that hath a trade, hath an estate”. In other words, a trade you could always fall back on, something you learned; make a living doing etc. So what are the basics you may ask, what is the base line of information that opens doors to not only life’s opportunities in the work force, but opens doors to a world of information, no it’s not the cell phone, or the internet, though powerful tools for sure. It is the title of this article; the 3 R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic.

            The 1st one of the basics is the reading part, an amazing ability to absorb information. This great gift and or ability opens vast doors of knowledge to everyone, as you no longer have to take someone else’s word for truth or instruction, you can read it for yourself. I need not belabor the benefits of being able to read, as anyone reading this already has the knowledge of that. However, the point that I would like to make is that though the U.S. boasts of an 86% literacy rate, what has it done for our society? If you can read, what are you reading? I dare say that if people were more informed of world history and current events, they would surely not vote for a repressive rule of government. How can a Country of such a high literacy rate be so ignorant of things that are so vitally important? I submit, reading is not the ability to call out words, but the ability to discern what one is reading. People squander the gift of reading when they have no desire to read and discern from quality sources and materials that which not only benefits them personally but a society as well. A good example is the Bible; I dare say most kids nowadays know more about their cell phone and all the worthless apps than they know about their eternal existence. This will be our Nation’s undoing if people don’t wake up to what is important from the peddlers of untruth and garbage.

            Number 2 on the list of the 3 R’s is; writing, it goes hand in hand with reading. With the advent of the computer and the keyboard, it has transformed our society into a texting mode, an email mode but not an old fashioned snail mail mode. Even all occasion cards are taking a beating in sales. With the number of electronic cards that can be sent via email and the like, why pay 5 dollars for a card and a 50+ cent postage to send someone a greeting when all they will do is toss it in the trash anyway (except me) as I save every card. The ability to write opens many doors, and closes them just as fast if you can’t write. And once again, it is not ability to write words, but articulate information, write from the heart, not just read a quality book, but maybe write one as well. I for one am glad they invented the keyboard and computer; this has become an invaluable tool in communication for me, as I write a lot of materials on a regular basis. Take time to communicate, yes, it takes time to share, to care, to provoke to good words and works; it’s a good part of life.

            The 3rd on the list is arithmetic, the ability to crunch numbers. In school it was my favorite class. I guess I was just a natural when it comes to working with numbers, I still to this day remember many of the formulas for calculating measurements of objects and the like. It makes sense I guess, as I attended a Trade School, and the trade I chose was Machine Shop, per those in the know; a thinking man’s trade. Did I mention, it takes a lot of math to be able to work in this trade? Mathematics is like certain foods; it a staple of life. From being able to decipher your paycheck or checkbook to doing your taxes or a host of just about everything in life, math is part of the equation. Is it a required subject in school anymore? From what I have observed from the younger generation, and far too many middle aged peoples; I guess not. Why do I say that? It seems from my observation point, many have forgotten how to do basic math in calculating their check book, savings account etc. They seem to believe you can continue to write checks even if there is no money in your account. We live in an over spend society; never save for anything if you can charge it now. This has caused many to have spent their pay check long before they even see their paycheck. Thus enter the credit card, the maxing out of the card; then apply for another card to do the same. Then pay minimal payments, which causes thermal runaway of indebtedness, the unfortunate result in never being able to pay off the card. One would think this malady is just a personal level issue, but it isn’t. This endless money thinking has permeated our society to the extent that, far too many think our Government has money to burn, trillions of dollars just lying around awaiting distribution to the masses. Unfortunately our Government Leaders seem to think the same thing. Do people not realize that not only do people file for bankruptcy on a regular basis, but governments of the world have done the same? Can we figure it out that goods and services cost money and someone has to pay the bill? I remember these words of wisdom from my school years; math is the only subject where you can’t lie. So, do the numbers add up, unfortunately they do, and the numbers provide some disturbing facts. There is a payday coming, and we are not going to like our wages I’m afraid. It’s far past time to do the math, live within our/your means, quit thinking the government is God. I read this last year, that the U.S. Government sends out apprx. 50 million checks per month to it’s citizens, I’m not sure if that includes EBT cards as well. No Country can continue this course of irresponsibility without derailment. Please take note; what will you do when there is no more money for the Government to squander or give away? That means your EBT welfare card comes up with a 0 balance from now on, and it means that Government Social Checks are not sent out or deposited in your account. We are talking mass mayhem, no money to buy food, this will get ugly real fast. The list of ills is long, are we listening?

            So, there you have it, the 3 R’s, the basics, the doors to an enlightened life, people/s lives. What we do with it is up to us, empowered or the continued dumb-ing down of our/a society. It’s one thing to not be able to read and be illiterate, it’s quite another thing to be able to read and choose to be illiterate. I can help the one, but the latter is much more difficult to help. God help us!

Pastor Thomas Nosworthy

Light the Way Ministries.                                                  

lightthewayministries.org

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Special Guest Commentary

101 BODACIOUS QUOTATIONS

TO

INSPIRE PATRIOTISM

Introduction

You might be wondering what prompted the writing of this bodacious quotation book? What better time than now to be reminded of how both essential and fragile our country is. America is experiencing one of its darkest periods in recent history.  For over three years, we have witnessed some truly vicious and ugly political unrest.

          A ceaseless cacophony of accusations, innuendo, and intrigue have kept those in Washington and the media ever busy. Before the Coronavirus pandemic, to watch the daily news and social media, one would never know that the stock market had hit all-time highs numerous times in the last 54 months, or we’d had the lowest unemployment numbers in decades, and the lowest unemployment rate among blacks ever!  President Trump also renegotiated trade deals that  were fairer to America.

          Then, in January 2020, our nation was rocked when the Coronavirus landed on our shores and ended our way of life as we know it. Soon there were daily press briefings from the White House and various doctors. Each day virus information was plentiful, contradictory, and confusing. People were dying. We heard that hospitals were going to be overrun with COVID cases.

          The army set up hospital tents in various cities to handle the tens of thousands that were expected to land there. It didn’t happen. Hospitals were going to be inundated and unable to care for all of the sick. The army hospitals were never used – not one patient was seen in many of these. They were eventually dismantled. What happened? All non-essential surgeries and doctors’ visits were canceled. Hospitals were virtually emptied. And now? Many health care workers have been terminated or furloughed because the hospital's operating capital has vanished.    

           Now, thousands have died! Our elderly, who were not adequately protected in nursing homes, have had the most significant number of deaths. The actual numbers of COVID deaths cannot be relied upon because of highly questionable methodologies for assigning the cause of death. The rationale for this might be related to government funding to hospitals for each COVID case.     Time will tell as we compare data from previous years for various causes of deaths to see if the other numbers are in line with past years, OR if there's been a sharp decline in other categories, and they have been pushed into the COVID category.  And, suddenly, in the last several weeks, cases have begun to spike again. There is substantial debate on if it’s because many more people are getting tested. There is so much information out there – unreliable at best, that there’s no sense in discussing it at this point.

          Governors in many states issued draconian lock-down orders threatening people with arrests and the closure of businesses, or cancellation of necessary licenses if they didn’t abide by these rules. Masks and gloves were donned, not in hospitals, but stores and any public places. We even saw a parent handcuffed and arrested in front of his little girl because he dared to play ball with her in an empty field. A salon owner was arrested and jailed for opening her salon to pay her bills and put food on her table. Many other Gestapo tactics, such as these, were used to keep people in line. YES, I am talking about America!

            Americans have turned against one another. Some believe everything that the CDC, World Health Organization, and government say. Others believe there is a conspiracy to subjugate the people as a test to see how much they'll tolerate and for how long. It's been, in my opinion, a phenomenal success. People hate each other more than ever. Make no mistake; the various powers have observed very carefully to see how we've all responded. Unfortunately, it's been too much for many, and suicides have skyrocketed. Prescriptions for mood-altering drugs to cope with the crisis have also gone up dramatically (as if we didn't already have an opioid epidemic.)

          Younger Americans seem to be suffering more than most from deep depression, isolation, and loneliness.  I find this completely paradoxical since they are the generation that is so disconnected from one-on-one relationships, and so completely connected to their phones and other electronic devices. You can’t sit in the same room, or at the same table with them, without sharing their time with their hand-held devices! And yet, they are  the ones suffering from their own self-created lack of meaningful relationships with others.  

           The mainstream media, who now chooses to cherry-pick what they report, excluding vital details, has become an op-ed machine rather than a fair and unbiased media. What was once the actual news is now a daily dose of propaganda. And fear mongering. I once believed everything I heard on the evening news! I now question absolutely everything I hear on the evening news! I have no faith in the honesty, integrity, or intentions of what is being "reported." Who exactly can we turn to for the facts and not opinions? I don't know.

           Just when we were beginning to see the light, and the states were opening things back up, one rogue cop, caught in the horrendous act of murdering a black man by kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes, captured the country’s attention.  The anger and outrage at this injustice rocked every corner of our nation. But, within the black community, it ignited a firestorm of rage and anger. That moment symbolized, for many, both black and white, the brutality of a small percentage of police that has unfairly tarnished ALL police officers. To believe this of an entire segment of people is blatantly untrue and unfair.

           That was the tinderbox that erupted into the scenarios we are now witnessing, hour by hour, day after day, that could be right out of the movie “Escape from New York.”  Cities are burning. Businesses looted. People are being shot, and armed citizens are patrolling their neighborhoods to keep looters out and their areas safe with their weapons.

          A six-block area has been taken over by anarchists. Checkpoints have been established for entering and exiting, and there are check-points to allow people in or out. They are extorting business owners, and the Mayor of Seattle seems to think it’s a “summer block party.”  I guess she is not aware that a new country has been set up in a six-block area now known as CHAZ/CHOP – Capital Hill Autonomous Zone. You can’t make this stuff up!

          All across our country,  statues and monuments are being defaced and torn down – while those in charge sit on their hands and let the anarchists destroy America, insisting there is nothing they can do. Every day the frenzy continues as the calls for changing names of military bases, schools, colleges, sports teams, etc., escalates. It is complete insanity.

           Right on cue, the media and politicians have seized upon the opportunity to stoke the coals of division and hatred. I cry for our nation and what we have allowed ourselves to become.  I don't know the people seen on T.V. I don't come in contact with the level of black, or white,  Americans seen on there – they don't represent those with whom I daily interact.  People with thinking brains understand that these broad generalizations are not only untrue, but inherently harmful to us individually, and collectively as a nation.    

          Many officials of these large cities have refused to address the rioters and insist upon calling them, protesters. They seem to have limited knowledge of vocabulary for no one in their right mind would equate a protester and a rioter who burns, loots,  and harms people, as the same thing.        The very thing that the black community, what all communities need, are jobs and businesses. Now, thousands have seen their streets and businesses burned and destroyed, some of which will never return. Those jobs are permanently lost.  Those black communities will again know the pains of hopelessness and living in burned-out hulls of their former cities.

           But take hope. While all of this has happened, America's elite have raised over twenty million dollars – wait for it – not to help rebuild those cities, but to bail out the “protesters” who have destroyed those cities. Yes, this is where we are. There seems to be no help for those who work and play by the rules. No support is arriving from Hollywood elites and wealthy athletes for those people. One must question why?

           I’m watching this and feeling astounded, and at times utterly hopeless. The Washington leadership (can we call it that?) is still dividing us, still trying to rush through bills that are an atrocity, and I'm thinking to myself, has pandering and appeasement ever gotten anyone anywhere?'  Has that given people jobs and hope? Has that lifted them out of poverty? And, I feel, most importantly, has that increased their self-respect and self-reliance?  That I can answer with a resounding NO! To deny any human being the chance to work and produce, to feel a sense of accomplishment for a job well done, is to deny a basic human need – to feel valued.

          I don’t understand all of the machinations of politics (I couldn’t sleep at night if I did). I do know one thing as a person who loves their country – that we can’t, we must not give up on America. Too many people have given their lives for our America. We are in a fight for the very soul of this country. That might sound dramatic, but it is a fact. Many want to tear it apart – rebuild it into what they “envision” would be a better place. The founding fathers had a profoundly inciteful vision for the greatest country that the world has ever known. They knew history, and they sought to use their knowledge to create a more perfect union. (Where have we heard that before?)

            There are days when I question everything. At moments I give up hope and want to surrender. Times when I think if that is what THEY want, then they can have it. But it is not ours to give away! We owe a debt to our country to protect it from enemies, both foreign and domestic. That is our duty as a patriotic American who is willing to speak up and stop the insanity.

           I call upon my strong faith in God, knowing that whatever He has in store, He is with us. When America turned Him out of their schools, their homes, and their hearts, our decline began.  That is what happens when we shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well, what can you do?” Or, “Live and let live.” Now you can see the left doesn’t want people to live and let live. They want to control us. There seems to be no middle ground. This indeed is something new.

            I have seen the thousands of crosses marking graves of our soldiers who fought for democracy around the world and paid the ultimate sacrifice. I mourn with families who have known the pain of losing those heroes. I remind myself that I will do everything humanly possible to ensure that America is a country of citizens who deserve to live in peace and prosperity, fellowship, and understanding. Abraham Lincoln was well aware, as our country teetered on the brink of civil war, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."  (Mark 3:25)

            America is equivalent to a marriage. Sometimes we see all the best she has to offer, and we're starry-eyed and optimistic. Other times, we see everything as irreconcilable and dark. Then, it's as though we would like a divorce.  But saving America is worth the fight. We have a lot of work ahead of us. A great deal of understanding and healing needs to be done.

          We need to commit to providing more opportunities for all. And, more of a commitment to make each person responsible for their actions. We must step up to the plate and take personal responsibility – stop pointing the finger and passing the buck. Even though it seems impossible through the lens of the current crisis, I do believe in miracles. It's going to take courage, strength, consistency, fairness, rules for all, and laws that everyone must follow - not just a few. It will also necessitate a commitment from those in Washington to come together and serve America – not themselves. I don’t believe they will do that willingly. Their strength lies in our discord!

            How could I express all of these thoughts and feelings in a small book? I've always been enamored with quotations! With just a few carefully chosen words strung together like a beautiful strand of pearls, they present a profound concept. These BODACIOUS quotations have been hand-picked for an important point or reminder about freedom, honesty, politicians, government, personal duty, economics, liberty, and above all else, man's responsibility to think for himself. History has gifted us with brilliant people, whose insightful reasoning and words of wisdom have proven ageless. They deserve to be heard once again as valuable reminders to each of us.

          It is my sincere hope that you will become even more bodacious in your patriotism. I hope that you will find meaningful ways to become a better, more involved citizen. I pray that this will stimulate conversation and inspire each of you to understand your unique "Power of One" and step into your new bodacious life! America is depending upon you.

 

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