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Self Sacrifice in Practice – Religion and Politics

20201108 Self Sacrifice in Practice – The Daily Summation Podcast

Not too long ago, I wrote an article in which I covered the subject of self sacrifice.

In that piece, I didn’t really delve into what I meant, when I used that term.

Here’s the thing, the concept of giving yourself for others, can seem like an extremely weighty one—and to be sure, sometimes that’s entirely true.

At others though, the reality is, we can actually be talking about considerations, at various degrees of difficulty, for the person opting to give of him or her self.

One of my harder decisions by way of example, was to continue to be a part of the U.S. Air Force, past the time I was well and truly ready to leave, in order to try and keep my marriage of the time, alive.

I’ve had various other times, I felt the need to give of myself, and as I say, the level of toughness for each, was different.

One example I use, was that there came a time when I was in a relationship, and found one of the involved persons, decided they were going to listen to music of sorts I couldn’t abide.

I was a strong Christian by that point in my life (a thing which is still the case), and I had zero desire, to listen to, or even be around, what’s termed secular music.

I realized that I was being hypocritical in my behavior, because of my expectation, the person in question listen to what I wanted. In the end, I basically chose to forgo listening to music at all, while allowing them to tune the radio to whatever they wanted to hear.

It grieved me greatly to have the music they chose playing, but I stuck to my guns, and tried hard to be as cheerful as I was able, when doing so.

The next mildly serious situation I want to discuss, is one in which I started arising at 4:00AM, and going to the gym.

Both the act of waking up at the hour in question, and going to the gym, were designed to be sacrificial in nature.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked getting a workout. Truth is though, my reason for continuing to do so, was to be in good health, for the sake of my family. I’m not getting any younger, and I know for most folks, they experience health issues, as they get older.

Getting up at such a time, was to make it so I minimized the impact on the family, in my timing.

Unfortunately, it was made clear to me, I had failed in keeping things from affecting people. At that point, I made a choice to stop going to the gym, in order to try to keep the peace. This too, was an act of self sacrifice.

Sometimes, the changes I’ve made, seem a great deal less significant.

As an example, when I came to a place where I didn’t have a job, and was essentially the primary (read here, “only”) breadwinner for my family, I concluded some adjustments were in order, to my spending habits.

As I say more than I thought I ever would in my writings, I have a Moderately (Level 2) Autistic son. He’s much pickier in what he’ll eat, than I am. As a result, I came to a place where, I would allow him to eat restaurant food, but would buy food only for him, and make food for myself at home.

That’s true even though I enjoy restaurant food, every bit as much as many folks do.

I also came to a place where I was very close to dead broke during that time. When that happened, I decided to make another concession.

I’m prone to buy certain things for myself, when I go grocery shopping. One such thing, is bottled coffee drinks.

When it became obvious I was going to have to curtail my expenditures, instead of asking my son to eat less, or not have the things he wanted, the coffee drinks, among other items, ended up leaving the cart.

During that same time period, I also limited my leisure travel, which for me was a small thing, since I don’t tend to do a lot of extra miles, for my own sake.

I did a similar thing with my older children, where I would pay for them to do things like ice skate, even though I would stand on the sidelines and watch, because I wasn’t able to afford for all of us to be involved in that activity.

One interesting thing we don’t really think about is, the effect of not being able to do various things is often cumulative. We end up paring down our own activities, purchases, and luxuries, in order to support the well being of others, sometimes in rather major ways.

Those people may be family, friends, workmates, or any number of others—even folks we don’t even know. Much of the time, the point is, to make things better, for those around us. That may be true in ways we don’t necessarily realize or understand.

On top of all of this, I see a need in myself, to have a good attitude—in some senses, this is part of the sacrifice made. Having a bad outlook, when you do things for others in a sacrificial manner, is something that will sour, even the most selfless of acts.

Part of that process, can be biting one’s tongue. There are times when I’ve wanted to say things, but stopped myself before doing so. I was so happy when I did that at various times, realizing later, that what I would have said, was not only not reasonable, it was often horribly incorrect.

I want a couple of things, to be well understood. I’m not telling you what I am, in order to brag. My desire is to give people ideas of the simple, and not so simple sacrifices they and others can make. I’m not seeking sympathy for what I’ve been through, either.

I hope this little article, has helped you to understand what I mean when I talk about self sacrifice. Obviously, there are substantially more extreme examples as well.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Winning and Losing – Religion and Politics

20201107 Winning and Losing – The Daily Summation Podcast

If there’s one truth about life it’s this. You will be expected to compete for various things along the way.

In many instances, that competition will supposedly be against others. The reality is, that’s actually pretty much never the case.

It’s not that there aren’t others involved in many competitions, just that you’re not really up against them.

As hokey as it sounds, the person you’re consistently challenged to best, is yourself.

You may or may not, manage to outdo others in that contest as well. If you’re not doing the best you can manage, the chances of that happening, are slim.

I was inspired to talk about this as a result of issues I see in the modern day, here in the United States.

In my mind, there’s a concern with the general tenor of folks, when dealing with others, as well as within themselves.

This is certainly a result of what’s going on inside a lot of individuals, as such, that’s somewhat the place to start, where it’s concerned.

I’m not silly enough to think a video, podcast, or article, is going to change that in people, and I’m not at all interested in trying to shame them, either.

What am I trying to accomplish then? I would love to get others to examine where they are, figure out whether changes are called for, and determine exactly how to go about affecting them.

A large part of what I believe to be driving folks, can be counted to be external influence.

Whether that’s parents, siblings, friends, teachers, mentors, or whoever, is pretty much bside the point.

The important thing to remember is, you’re responsible for you. Others may be able to help you to make yourself, into who and what you want to be. Though that’s true, in the end, it’s on you to decide what’s good, desirable, and correct.

There’s nothing at all wrong, with working hard when you compete, unless your reason for vieing for success, is bad. If it’s not, the old expression, “Leave it all out on the field,” is entirely valid.

Here’s the rub. If you try, you will fail in all likelihood. There are those who rarely ever fail. For the most part though, I wouldn’t count on being one of them—not that it’s not a good thing to aim for, mind you.

That said, you’ll note the expression above, “rarely ever.” Even the most successful folks, have lost or will do so, at some point. From there, the question is whether or not they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and move on.

If they do, the chances are good they’ll live to fight another day, in most cases. If not, well, I think you get the gist.

The simple reality is, you didn’t learn to walk, by not trying and failing, likely multiple times.

Put succinctly, if you continue to try, so long as your goal is reasonable, you may not succeed. Then again, you just might.

As I’ve stated, in not trying, you may not lose per se (though, technically, by default, you sort of do just that), but you shan’t win either most of the time.

Nobody likes to fail. It’s not as satisfying a thing, as succeeding, or winning. That said, it is something you must assume is going to occur.

In some things you do, there will be actual competition with others, obviously, in those situations, you can win, or lose.

Where you can count it winning, when you’re in competition only with yourself, you might just as easily refer to it as success.

The obvious point is, the words success and winning are not quite synonymous, thought they’re rather close to being so.

When competing agaist others, remember, it’s about you doing the best you can. Looking back doesn’t help when you’re not out front. It doesn’t really help when you are.

It doesn’t matter if the contest you’re in, is a track meet, a math test, a spelling bee, or just getting the job done first and most correctly, remember that it’s about doing your best, and not worrying about others.

You might be able to use the acts of your fellows, to help egg you on, or spirit you ahead, but that’s really the best that can generally be hoped for. That said, if you’re not “out front” in races against others, you’re not winning.

If you are ahead, run and run hard.

I have a bad tendency in the heat of things and after, to gloat. Thankfullly, I’ve mostly overcome it these days. I hope you can do likewise, if that’s an issue for you.

These days, I work hard to be humble—to realize rubbing people’s noses in things, is a bad idea.

On another topic, my Moderately Autistic son, tends to throw fits, when he loses (as well as gloat, on winning). Considering his Autism, he’s going to melt down at times. As well, he doesn’t always understand the result of his reactions.

As for me, and I think for most folks, we really have no such excuse. If we do behave in such ways, we need to learn to deal with the world in better, more proper manners, just like my son does.

When you gloat, or throw fits, you just make things worse, both for yourself, and for others.

I think the tendency to do such things is a sign of a larger problem, that being that folks are prone to react in emotional or empassioned ways; this seems particularly true for younger folks.

More often than not, this will only cause more or greater problems, since others are likely to respond badly as a result, and argue or disagree. Instead, it pays to be logical and understanding.

Remember too, what comes out is a sign of what’s within. As such we should be looking to “fix” those issues that are internal to us. This is what’ll result in a better outlook and response.

I say some other things in the video, but I want to try to keep this piece relatively short, so I’ll let you check it out, if you want to hear them.

Remember this, though. Healthy competition is a good thing. Responding badly to winning or losing? Not so much. If you’re a Christian, you need to work on giving things to God, and reacting humbly when you win, or succeed. If you’re not, you probably ought to work to root out frustrations, and learn how to release them in constructive ways. In the end, it’s about having peace inside.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Counting Ballots – Religion and Politics

20201106 Counting Ballots – The Daily Summation Podcast

There are very few things in this world that ought to inspire confidence, beyond much of any other thing.

For Christians, the existence of God, and Jesus as a “part of” that God, is one.

Though it shouldn’t be nearly as confidence-inspiring, one thing I believe a lot of folks in the United States want to be sure of, is the process of voting—most particularly where doing so, is related to the selection of new national leadership.

At the present moment, there are more than a few people, who I don’t believe, count that process to be nearly as strong in its ability to make them secure, as it ought to.

Those people look at a number of factors, and really begin to question the integrity, of the activity concerned.

To begin with, they consider the idea that, though we’ve been “suffering the ravages of” the COVID-19 virus, elections should be relatively unaffected. I would give my personal opinion on that ailment, but I certainly haven’t the space to do so, and still say what I want to in this article.

What I will make it a point to indicate is, that given it’s been known that the illness has been present since before the 1st of February of this year, there ought to have been ample time to prepare, to have necessary changes to elective processes in place, so as to make the counting of those votes possible, prior to or on, the day following the election.

As was obvious by what did happen, and frankly is happening, that’s not how things worked. It’s plain to see, the enumeration of ballots, continued well into Friday the 7th—four days after the last vote was ostensibly cast—and may have still been going on, past that point.

It’s at this juncture, another consideration rears its head. It can be summed up in a pretty simple question, “Were election forms counted, that came in after polling had closed?” If that was true, such a thing happening, by no means bodes well for those seeking fairness in the process.

Part of the problem with this, can be seen in the idea, that mail in-ballots, which were received after the cutoff, might well have made their way into the count.

This is particularly possible, considering the number of-mail in ballots, that were not requested by the people receiving them.

Further, it’s true in my mind that, since most if not all such ballots, should’ve come through the U. S. Postal Service, there should have been a requirement, indicating they ought to have been postmarked. That’s true whether or not their postage was prepaid.

Additionally, it should have been codified into law, that people improperly postmarking ballots received on or after the time they had to be mailed, should expect to suffer grave penalties, for doing so.

As well, there are numerous cases on record, of people receiving election materials (read here, “balloting information”) for folks who either no long lived where they were sent, or were even no longer alive.

Again, you can be sure a good many people were more than a little disconcerted, by such tales.

On top of this, were issues surrounding the idea that people who wished to monitor election tabulation, were potentially denied access. There were also issues with polling places, making it so windows were covered.

Whatever you may think about that, it’s an important part of the process, to allow election watchers to do their part.

If you choose to say, there were already too many people doing that task, that’s fine. That said, if one party or the other was excessively represented, it seems to me you have two pretty obvious choices.

You can either ask those who are more than should be there to leave, or you can allow the same number to participate, coming from the other side.

If you fail to take one or the other action, you can count on issues ensuing.

Though I recognize there are rules with regard to who can, and who cannot observe election tallying, I also believe that, so long as folks are reasonable in their requests to do so, they ought to be allowed that right.

One can certainly attempt to make the case, for instances in which poll-watching shouldn’t be allowed. For my part though, that’s not something I have an easy time imagining. Perhaps there’s some scenario with which I’m not familiar, but I have strong doubts that should make a difference, to the vast majority of tabulation that occurs.

You can imagine all of these things together, working to sow disquiet in the minds and hearts of a great many folks.

Add to this, the idea that the election for president this time around was very charged and extremely divisive, and you have a recipe for impending disaster.

Because of the apparent outcome, it’s my viewpoint that the idea of rioting in the streets or similar activity is unlikely.

Counter to what many have said, there’s been little unrest on the part of right-leaning individuals—even those who’re counted as activists—that could be considered anything but peaceful protest.

That’s sadly anything but true, for many on the left; whether you count such activities reasonable or not, is beside the point.

Even so, I can envision ongoing protests. Additionally, considering the lack of confidence many feel, you can imagine the legal challenges, will continue to come, for some time.

None of this is remotely surprising. Nor frankly, would I have expected any different reaction, on the part of those on the other side of the aisle, were the same shoe placed on their foot. The only difference I would’ve expected, is more violence, probable rioting, and potential looting.

As a country, we’re better than this. Having the counting of national elective ballots, be such a haphazard process, fraught with irregularities, is not something a nation like the United States, should consider normal or proper. We can do better! We must do better, going forward.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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The Spectrum – Autism

20201105 The Spectrum – Autism – The Daily Summation
20201105 The Spectrum – Autism – The Daily Summation Podcast

It’s literally a reflex, as you walk into a dark room, you reach for the switch on the wall, with more or less zero thought about what you’re doing.

If things go as expected, the space in front of you is suddenly—almost magically—bathed in radiance from a bulb somewhere.

When what’s expected doesn’t occur, you work to try to rectify the situation. Most of the time, that involves the simple changing of a faulty light producer.

For most people this, and the moments in high school or college science class, in which light is discussed briefly, are quite close to the sum total, of their exposure, to any kind of real understanding of that seemingly magical thing, that makes it possible for them to see the world around them.

For some of us, there’s been a need to better understand light.

It’s true that my family has always been more highly invested in the sciences than many. The result is, I came to understand the visible “spectrum” of illumination, a good deal better than I suspect many do.

As a part of my time in the world of work, I spent about a year, in a digital and confocal microscopy lab, at one of my the local universities. This made it pretty important, to have an even fuller understanding, of the subject in question.

I know, you were expecting a discussion of the Autism spectrum, and you’re going to get just that.

Before we get there though, I wanted to explain something many Autistic and non-Autistic folks don’t seem to understand.

Most people look at the colors of the spectrum of visible light, and assume they’re different—that each is unique, and that they bear no relationship, one to the other.

This is, of course, untrue in a number of ways. One of the most important, is that those who spend a lot of time looking at light, talk about it in terms of wavelength and frequency.

You see, as you go from one end to the other, of the visible spectrum, if you start at the red side of things, frequency increases, and wavelength decreases.

The point here, is that the colors you know, were not randomly dropped into the places they occupy. They’re in those positions, because of their wavelength, and corresponding frequency.

In short, the closer you get to violet, the higher the frequency, and the shorter the descriptive waveform.

Like almost any other measurement system, the spectral one come to light, is graduated—a standard, as it were.

It’s with this in mind, that I take on the consideration of the Autism spectrum.

There are folks out there, who like to say that the spectrum of visible light is arbitrary; this is obviously an incorrect assertion. In my view, the same is true, for the Autism spectrum.

That measurement device is not (or at least should not be), a smattering of symptoms on a line.

Having such a setup, is basically useful to next to nobody.

Rather, the spectral nature where related to Autism, is or should be, a measure of severity of symptoms.

Whether you’re a fan of the concept of the numbered levels, or the named ones, is largely beside the point.

A person dealing with Mild (level 1) Autism, will almost certainly not match in symptomology, another at the same level. Both such people though, will likely become able to navigate the world, with relatively good success.

When speaking about differences in symptoms, the same applies as you move toward and into Severe (level 3) Autism. That is to say, those hallmarks that apply to one individual, will relatively certainly not be the same, as those experienced by another at that level.

To make this even more interesting, a Mildly Autistic person, may end up with many of the same traits, as a person at Level 2 (Moderate) on the spectrum. The difference, is that the person with what’s counted Mild Autism, will be more readily able to adapt, to the world around them.

In saying this, you need to be fully aware, I’m not indicating a person with level 1 autism, won’t have to work quite hard, to fit into his or her circumstances.

That said, a person who’s considered level 2, will almost certainly, have much more to deal with. It’s not some sort of contest. Rather, it’s a pragmatic understanding of what will be necessary, to bring a person to a place where they’re able to interact with society at large.

I’ve said before, it’s entirely possible I’m Mildly Autistic. That having been put out there, allow me to toss the concept out the window. For the sake of argument, assume I’m “normal.”

Yet and still, those considered to be in the level 1 range of the Autism spectrum, generally sit in normal classrooms in normal schools, not too long after their diagnosis is confirmed.

I’m not saying that’s always the case. Though that’s true, I would generally argue, this is where the spectral nature of Autism is made plain. A person may be considered Mildly Autistic, but could well be closer on the spectrum, to Moderate Autism, than another also counted so.

In explaining my child’s Autism, I’ve been prone to say he’s, “Moderately Autistic, but closer to Severe, than to Mild Autism.”

This is what’s meant, by the spectral nature of Autism, in my view.

Nobody’s arguing that every Autistic person is alike in the differences they possess, when compared to the population at large.

That point, doesn’t change where on the spectrum they reside.

If I’m confused in my understanding, that’s fine and good.

It must still be recognized that, some people will have a greatly more difficult time, interacting with the world, than do others.

This revelation is in no way, intended to belittle the struggles of anyone on the spectrum.

The intent, rather, is to point out, that certain people may never reach what’s counted normalcy, while some almost certainly won’t ever come close to that mark.

So you’re Mildly (level 1) Autistic? The possibility is, you have a good deal of work ahead of you. Remember though, those counted Moderately (level 2) or Severely (level 3) so, likely have even more; and many of them, may never achieve anything like, what most other human beings are expected to attain.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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The Administrative State – Religion and Politics

20201104 The Administrative State – The Daily Summation
20201104 The Administrative State – The Daily Summation Podcast

If you haven’t heard the term, “the administrative state,” I’d have to wonder from what source, you get your information on government.

In certain quarters, the term is used all but mockingly. Among that group, there’s tendency to argue that either there’s nothing wrong with the vast amount of power being vested in bureaucrats, or that things aren’t as some (read here, “people like me”) would have you believe.

Others maintain, that at present, the control held by unelected individuals, is so great, that short of a good deal of dismantling, the chances of wresting it from them, are almost nonexistent.

This is an argument that will, I’m sure, continue to rage, for a long time to come.

That said, I wanted to take a moment to discuss my personal dealings, with what amounts to the long arm of the administrative state.

To begin with, let’s talk about my time working as a subcontractor, to an organization that contracted to provide certain services, to my local Department of Health and Human Services.

I worked as someone who helped to keep their various web applications running, make enhancements on existing ones, and help create new ones.

One of the projects I was involved in, was a system called Coding Validation Tables or CVT. We were working to modernize that site, so that it looked and felt as a newer application ought to.

I learned from my time working on that system, that typically more than fifty percent of state funding, wasn’t from the people of the state directly, but from the U. S. federal government.

You can be quite certain those monies, did not come to the state with no strings attached.

It turns out, that’s just one of many ways, the national government, keeps its hooks into state and local entities.

Another example, is the Medicaid system.

Anybody who’s worked on either Medicare or Medicaid, is well aware there’s an oversight body, known by the acronym CMS

The funny part? That abbreviation expanded is, “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” In case you think I’m making that up, go to the CMS website, and check out the expansion of the letters under the words “,” at the top of any given page.

And to be sure, if you were confused into believing the federal entity supposedly providing oversight to Medicaid (supposedly ostensibly a state agency, for each state), doesn’t have an iron grip on that program, just ask anybody who works in things related to it—if you can get them to converse honestly with you.

Because the federal government decides how a large part of Medicaid is funded (since much of the largess in question originates with that entity), all it has to do, is threaten to withhold those funds, if a given state won’t play ball.

But my favorite example of government at a high level, reaching down into the daily lives of others, is related to my experience, with having my children in daycare facilities.

As it is, I’m not at all happy with such an arrangement. Having my choice, my children would never find, or have found themselves, in either public schools, or daycare.

That said, I’ve been in circumstances, where I couldn’t easily see another way to do business, and still provide a home for them that was anything like reasonable.

The simple result is, my children go and have gone to, both school and daycare.

One of the more interesting things you find in daycare facilities in my area—and I doubt very much, my region is alone in this—is notices informing you, the business in question is essentially prohibited from discriminating, on the basis of race.

You might expect to find such an admonition in many businesses, but the interesting thing about this particular warning, is its source.

You see, it actually says on it whence it originates. You may not be surprised to hear, it wasn’t the idea of the company itself.

It may come to your mind, that local, or even state government, required its placement.

If so, you’d be incorrect.

So who did cause it to be posted?

“Surely it wasn’t the federal government?” you might be tempted to inquire. Yes, in fact it was.

“What agency could possibly have done such a thing?” might be your next question.

The answer? The United States Department of Agriculture.

That’s right, the USDA.

You may next ask, “How on Earth can they have implemented such a requirement?”

The answer is, some time in the distant past, the USDA convinced a sufficient number of such enterprises, to take food given via their programs.

If other such businesses wish to compete in that market, they must either buy food very cheaply, or partake of those same “giveaways.”

For daycare facilities that make small amounts of money, and are required to have a certain number of workers on staff, the obvious choice, is to use the programs in question.

Of course, as usual, they must meet certain standards, to obtain the items they receive. One such requirement, is a non-discrimination dictate, including the aforementioned placards.

This is just one of many such things, folks performing daycare services, must have in place, just in order to succeed in their chosen business.

You can bet other such strictures (based, of course, on benefits of some sort given), are as or more onerous, than the one mentioned.

It may seem like a small thing, to have to maintain such items in your place of business, whether or not you agree with what’s required. That said, it’s just one more thing they must do, if they wish to survive.

So on top of the more nebulous aspects of the nanny or administrative state, there are some examples I can give, that’re far more concrete, as you can see.

You may not have a problem with a constantly growing and expanding group of bureaucrats, implementing requirements at ever lower levels, from on high. As for me, you can rest assured I consider such things, a major concern. Perhaps it’s already too late to do anything about them. By the time many conclude they’re problematic, it will almost certainly be so. Make your choice now or later, but remember, choices have consequences; as does kicking the can down the proverbial road.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Christianity and Borders – Religion and Politics

20201103 Christianity and Borders – The Daily Summation Podcast

Considering the complexity, and depth of the text found, in the book known as the Bible, it seems to me more likely people are bound to get various messages found therein incorrect, rather than understanding them.

I was recently involved in a discussion, in which a person cited the following piece of Biblical content, yet showed exactly how easy it is, to misunderstand what was said.

Galatians 3

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

If one ignores the context of what is therein said, it’s possible come to the errant conclusion, that the speaker is intending to do away with all differences between, those about whom he’s talking. In one sense, it’s even sort of fair to say that he is, with one exception.

The problem is, considering verse 28 alone, one can assume wrongly—if one works quite hard—the intent of the words in question, was simply to wipe away understood differences that today, can be somewhat properly equated to racism and sexism.

What’s happening instead?

Looking at the context of what’s written, the author can be seen to be generating an intentional separation beforewiping away the differences in question.

That distinction, is between those who choose to follow Jesus, called Christ, and those who don’t fall in that camp.

This is an important realization, since it shows a desire philosophically, to build two camps, those who are believers, and those who aren’t.

It’s hard to look at any such compartmentalization as anything, but the building of a wall—a border as it were.

Still not convinced? Consider the words of Jesus himself.

Matthew 10

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

That seems like a pretty strong set of statements. It also appears pretty obvious what meaning, He intends to impart by them.

He certainly seems to be pretty strongly stating that, if you choose to not follow Him, in the process, potentially alienating yourself to those around you, He considers you to be an unworthy servant—someone not fit to be in His presence.

For those who argue that such statements do not form a boundary between the Christian, and those most count precious, I have one simple question, “Exactly how do you come to such a conclusion?”

Everything I see, indicates quite strongly that’s the case.

The point of what I’ve said here is relatively simple. Christianity doesn’t just accept the concept of borders, it’s predicated upon them.

This is all fine and good, it makes it clear that those who believe in the Bible, as canonized, ought to have no issue with the idea that borders, are a real and meaningful part of Christianity, and are in fact, necessary to it.

Let’s examine another piece of scripture. This one is going to seem just a little off the beaten track, but please bear with me.

Matthew 22

15 ¶ Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Where borders between entities like countries are concerned, this idea applies. Lots of Christians count themselves members of the societies and communities, in which they reside, as for me, that’s only the case where higher matters don’t prevail. I’m going to pull just one more piece of Biblical text into play here.

Romans 12

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Considering what Jesus Himself said in the previous two excerpts, it seems pretty obvious, that doing what’s talked about here, should cause you to fall in line with that which was previously given.

It’s in this spirit, that I generally consider myself a member of the society around me only insomuch as I can do so, without ignoring the things I’ve laid out to this point.

With regard to state, or national borders, they’re “Caesar’s things,” to me. The result is, I don’t have to worry greatly about them. That said, I still see the advantage in their existence.

So does Christianity support the idea of borders? Not only does it do so, but in some measure, it exists for the believer, on their construction, at least in a spiritual and conceptual sense. Does it eschew the idea of state or national borders? Not in any way I’m able to see. I’m always open to consider the possibility I’m in error. To this point, I cannot see how that might be the case.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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A Sign of the Times – Religion and Politics

20201102 A Sign of the Times – The Daily Summation
20201102 A Sign of the Times – The Daily Summation Podcast

It’s been an ongoing problem for some time. I’m not one to argue it’s less seen, on either side of the political aisle.

That said, the point I’m discussing here, is a sad, unfortunate, merging of the branches of governmental power, here in the United States.

By intent, there were and are, three distinct governmental prongs, in this country. I have a funny feeling, if you were to ask the average college student—forget high school—what those branches of government are called, they would in the best case, have issues answering.

You and I know them to be the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches.

I hope you recognize their purposes as well.

By way of quick summation, the executive branch does just what the name implies, it relates to things like policing. Essentially, it enforces the law.

The legislative is equally aptly named. Its job is to manage the laws written—including to write new ones, where called for—such that they fall within the existing framework. That is, they should either be inside, or supersede, existing law.

The judicial branch of government, is the group responsible for deciding matters of law. Is this person or that group, in compliance with, or outside of the laws as currently written? They can also be said to be responsible for deciding the fate, of those in breach of law.

In these present days though, it appears to be fashionable, for each of these three, to attempt in some way, to usurp the authority of the others.

The judicial, uses interpretation of law, based on feelings, common sentiment, opinion, and legal concepts, from outside the borders of the country, to essentially rewrite what the legislative, has penned. This is often referred to as activism in the judiciary.

The legislative, attempts to encroach on the activities of the judiciary in various ways, and on the workings of the executive in others. For the judicial, an example would be congressional hearings, that claim the authority to judge and potentially even punish wrongdoing. The second part of that example, can be seen as taking over part of the executive function.

And the executive is no better. The famous, “I have a pen and a phone.” statement, made by our previous president, is an excellent example.

To say that the power of executive orders has been vastly overused, would seem to be a definite understatement. When you consider that the original purpose for that tool, was very likely to implement existing legislation, that becomes pretty clear.

Here’s the thing though. What all of this points to, is not what you might think.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that the people in various positions of power routinely and roundly abuse that power, is a problem.

Considering that, you must still ask yourself a probing question, “How did they get there?

There are arguments to the effect that a large part of the problem, is the complexity of the systems that’ve been generated over the course of time. I’m not trying to maintain there’s not some truth to that reality.

Even so, the larger problem in my view, is not that level of difficulty.

What does it come down to, in large part? The simple answer can be summed up in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.

Read more:

It cannot be argued, that the population at large bears no responsibility in this.

Though that’s true, the real problem lies squarely in two places.

The first of these, is the home. When parents don’t adequately understand, what makes a people successful and prosperous, they’ll be unable to pass that information, down to their progeny. Thing is, this is largely a result of what happens in the second location.

That second venue would be places of learning, whether schools, extended family, churches, synagogues, mosques, social settings, or whatever

In the case of places dedicated to education, the first issue I see, is the lack of a requirement for educators, to first understand, then teach, civics.

In fact, it’s become relatively commonplace, for individuals to find their way, into the educational system, who routinely, abjectly fail, to understand how this country, has become one of the richest in the world.

It’s also commonly true, that people in such positions are absolutely convinced, the children they’re paid to teach, are often in horrible poverty.

Keep in mind, this is said of families with houses, often multiple cars, smartphones, and more than one television in the home. To be sure, most of them have barely ever missed a meal, but through choice on someone’s part.

Another consideration, is that purveyors of “higher learning,” have often been co-opted by left-leaning persons, in order to teach ideologies, counter to those that made us what we are today.

The result is, young adults are often indoctrinated into belief sets that not only don’t help things, but actively harm them.

To say that the United States has been moving in directions that are horribly counter to what’s led to the vast reduction in poverty seen here and elsewhere in the world, would be a serious understatement.

Making matters worse, many of the folks who run for political office, are self-serving in the extreme; and since the majority of Americans are woefully uneducated as to what their country is about, it’s not within them to see this is the case.

We’re rapidly descending into a state, where it’s hard to imagine redemption.

We have governmental administrative entities, operating on autopilot, regardless who makes their way into authority.

Unless people wake up to what’s occurring, it’s highly unlikely any of this will change. If it’s to be fixed, the amount of work needed to cause that change to occur, is already highly onerous.

My message? We must begin to bring people and requirements, back into the education of our youth, that allow them to see where we are, and contrast that against where should be. This must happen in homes, social gatherings, and schools to be particularly effective. The time to begin that process is now. The road ahead is long. If nothing else, as parents, people should work to understand what’s actually beneficial, and pass that knowledge, on to their children.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Set Apart – Religion and Politics

20201101 Set Apart – The Daily Summation
20201101 Set Apart – The Daily Summation Podcast

I’m sure everyone out there, can name someone who seems to have a large arsenal of useless facts, in his or her armory.

I’ve been accused by more than a few folks, of being that person, and frankly, I know many argue the truth in that idea.

I would dispute the reputation, but not because I don’t have a lot of information, many would consider to be useless or worthless. On what basis do I mount my refutation?

It’s my contention, that very few of the things I know, are of no value.

Some things, for example, what the “BNC” in BNC connectors stands for, can be argued to have largely lost their significance. In case you’re wondering, I shan’t keep you in suspense, it stands for “British Naval Connector.”

Some other things though, will either keep their value for a good long time to come, or be more or less, timeless.

One example, would be the origin of the word, “saint.”

If you look up the word in most online dictionaries (or get a definition on search engines), you’ll come up with something like (the result from the search, “saint definition” on DuckDuckGo):

saint sānt

  • n. A person officially recognized, especially by canonization, as being entitled to public veneration and capable of interceding for people on earth.
  • n. A person who has died and gone to heaven.

More at Wordnik from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

But if you actually look at the etymology, various places, you’ll get something like this (from EtymOnline, which purports itself an “Online Etymology Dictionary”). Keep in mind, this is but a short excerpt from that site.

saint (n.)

early 12c., from Old French saint, seinte “a saint; a holy relic,” displacing or altering Old English sanct, both from Latin sanctus “holy, consecrated” (used as a noun in Late Latin; also source of Spanish santo, santa, Italian san, etc.), properly past participle of sancire “consecrate” (see sacred). Adopted into most Germanic languages (Old Frisian sankt, Dutch sint, German Sanct).

I hope you can see the significant difference, between the two.

In the first, you find a definition the which, the “average Christian” would be lucky to ever to attain. In the second, the difference is not so clear-cut.

Are you consecrated? Are you holy (another word I would have others look up)? If so, even by this rather high-minded meaning, you are a saint.

Here’s the thing though. If you take the time to look for the word in, say, the King James Version of the Bible (KJV, created in around 1611AD), you might be somewhat surprised to see how that word is used.

I use an application called Online Bible, which has a good many modules, one can use to help one, to understand the Bible. One of these. is a tool called “Easton’s Bible Dictionary.” In that work, can be found the following for the word saint:


One separated from the world and consecrated to God; one holy by profession and by covenant; a believer in Christ #Ps 16:3 Ro 1:7 8:27 #Php 1:1 Heb 6:10 The “saints” spoken of in #Jude 1:14 are probably not the disciples of Christ, but the “innumerable company of angels” #Heb 12:22 Ps 68:17 with reference to #De 33:2 This word is also used of the holy dead #Mt 27:52 Re 18:24 It was not used as a distinctive title of the apostles and evangelists and of a “spiritual nobility” till the fourth century. In that sense it is not a scriptural title.

Wow! What a difference!

In this dictionary, that talks about what the word being used in Biblical senses looks like, it’s clear the meaning is not even all that similar to the one, presently in use.

Put plainly, modern day language (and by that, I mean compared to the idiom of Biblical times), has certainly done a number on this word. That’s not surprising, many similar examples can be found.

It’s pretty obvious that, in the original meaning of the word, more or less anyone who claimed to be under the banner of Jesus, called Christ, would be entitled to have that expression associated with his or her name.

Can a reasonable argument be made for the redefinition of the word in the course of time? In my mind, the answer to that question is pretty assuredly, “No.”

Nonetheless, that’s what has happened as we’ve moved toward the present day, regardless whether it makes sense, for it to have occurred.

And I think Christendom, is the poorer for that fact.

When believers are told they’re not saints, when the Bible seems pretty intent on indicating they are, it places them in a position of subjugation, I don’t think to be at all proper.

Recognition of this reality, also points up another thing many Christians seem to fail to understand. You are consecrated. You have been set apart.

Inability to comprehend this fact, makes it so many believers act as folks for whom it’s not true, instead of behaving as those for which it is the case.

Simply, when you’re not aware you’re a saint, you’re not prone to act like one.

Does sainthood mean perfection? Certainly not.

Even so, you have been set apart.

I’m not trying to cause people to “live up to” the idea of what’s currently referred to as sainthood, so much as help them to realize, the word applies to them.

I certainly don’t believe you’ll magically become the model of perfect behavior or attitude, when this is brought to your attention. I don’t think knowing it’s true is intended to cause that to happen.

That said, I do believe it should cause you to modify your view of yourself, and your fellows in Christ.

Have you gone your whole life to this point, not really properly understanding the word “saint?” If not, you’re in a distinct minority. It’s more common for followers of Jesus, to not know how this word should be applied, than to comprehend for whom it was intended.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Health Care – Religion and Politics

20201031 Health Care – The Daily Summation
20201031 Health Care – The Daily Summation Podcast

I’ve had a thing about which I’ve wanted to write for some time now. The problem is, I well know, many will count me crass and uncaring, for what I want to put out there.

The reality is, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I suppose you could argue that, in some senses, I care entirely too much.

It’s that concern, that motivates me in the direction of wishing to bring forth, the thing I’m about to proffer.

I haven’t been to a hospital for any purpose, other than to take others in for, or visit people while, they underwent care.

That’s not something I say as some sort of boast.

It’s really pretty simple. To this point I’ve been blessed of God Almighty, with health I have no reason to expect.

I have a few minor issues, but the truth is, pretty much nothing from which I suffer, having lived lo this half century, is severe enough to cause me to seek the aid of medical staff.

I may find out at some point, that something is happening inside me, which will cause me to fall into an early grave. If that days is forthcoming, it’s awfully hard to imagine at the present moment.

I’m sure a good many people have said the same, and fallen over and died directly after saying it.

The reason I bring forward, what I have to this point, isn’t borne out of some desire to either pat myself on the back, or to brag about what a specimen of humanity I am.

I have no fear of going to doctor’s offices, or hospitals, so I’m not trying to say I’m deathly afraid of such places, either.

I’ve just come to the conclusion, that people lived their lives for millennia, without ever once having been looked over by such folks.

Here’s where the accusations are probably going to begin to flow.

It’s my contention, that far too many people spend far too much time, in the offices of various medical professionals.

In saying this, I’m not trying to indicate that there are no valid reasons, to find oneself in attendance of such folks. Certainly there are many.

I have to wonder though, how large a number of folks are so afraid of death, that they spend far more hours in such places, than are by any means warranted.

More importantly, it concerns me to some degree, that individuals take up the time, of people in medical fields, that could be better used.

To be plain, I’m not saying the persons they’re seeing, are lesser people for being taking advantage of their attendance. Rather my concern is, there are many who won’t get dealt with by various in that group, because they’re so busy as a result of folks who don’t truly need their care, sitting in the examination rooms, that could be put to better use, by folks who do.

It’s at this point, I expect the vitriol to flow. Those who’ve been in such facilities, for the smallest of causes, will likely be among the first to begin to spit invectives.

I somewhat suspect them to be followed in that process, by people who found out about something serious, when they went to a doctor’s office, for an entirely unrelated issue.

I want to make it painfully clear, I get that it’s totally possible, a person may be deathly ill, with little to no realization that’s the case.

It’s for such reasons I’ve not written this piece, up to this point.

That said, I would be willing to bet the majority of individuals, who enter the offices of medical practitioners, do so with little reason, and end up leaving just a little poorer than when they entered, with no outcome of serious benefit to anyone, but the professional to whom fees were paid, his or her staff, and the medical insurance industry.

What increases my concern is, people spend time in various such places, using medical insurance to cover the cost. Yet they’re likely have little to no understanding, they’re driving up the expense of insurance, not just for the rest of the people on a given plan, but for themselves.

Imagine a person coming to the conclusion he or she is unable to continue to pay for medical insurance coverage.

What if the folks making unnecessary health related visits had decided to not do so? Consider that by doing so, the cost of that person’s medical insurance, had remained sufficiently less costly, so as to make it possible for him or her, to keep it.

Now picture that same person, suffering potentially catastrophic ills, that could’ve been managed comparatively cheaply, had they just had the ability to maintain that coverage.

Like anything else—particularly any complicated thing—medical care is not limitless. It’s a finite resource.

To be fair, there are various other causes for increases in the cost of such insurance.

It cannot be overstated how regulation at various levels, has heightened that expense, for example.

Even so, it certainly isn’t helping things, for folks to make their way, to doctor’s buildings, with basically no cause.

I get the concern, that one might really be ill, and that the ailment in question, might be life-threatening.

I can understand the mentality that says, “It’s here, why not make use of it?”

Maybe in writing this piece, I’m helping you to understand why doing so flippantly, is not just consuming a resource you don’t need, but making use of a tool for which someone else might, have a true requirement.

Are you somebody who’ll find him or her self, in the offices of various in the medical community for little to no reason? If you are, I ask you to reevaluate.

I’m not talking about people with real concerns or conditions here. When your son breaks an arm, or you, or your daughter, has an exceptionally high fever, it’s totally understandable that you seek medical assistance. If you’re prone do so when that’s not the case though, I ask you to reconsider being in such a habit, for the well being of others.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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Media and Social Media – Religion and Politics

10-30-2020 Media and Social Media – The Daily Summation
10-30-2020 Media and Social Media – The Daily Summation Podcast

Most everything is connected to about any other thing, in some way. As a result you can be sure some part of what I say in this article, will essentially be what you’ve heard before.

I should also point out, when there have been ancillary discussions, relating to what’s spoken about in this piece, you probably should expect me to say the same, or at least very similar things, to what I express here.

Having made those disclaimers, allow me to get on with things.

Very few people would be surprised to hear me couch myself as a right leaning person. Some would be somewhat interested to hear me say that I’m not heavily to the right, in my perspectives and positions.

Being clear though, in my view, people who are strongly on that side of things, tend to advocate for at least anarcho-capitalism, if not straight anarchy.

I’ve said before and maintain now, that Socialism is a leftist philosophy, but Communism is an almost completely right wing one.

This confuses a lot of folks, so let me clarify. In my view, the closer something comes to anarchy, the more to the right, I consider it to be. Strong Socialism—including Nazism—tends to very much seek heavy government control, as such, it’s a leftist position.

At least in theory, true Communism expects people to come to a place, where they can all but self govern. That makes it so it’s a good deal closer to anarchy, than even many on the right, have any interest in.

For my part, I support the idea of a central government for a very limited set of things, with a more diffuse set of government bodies, for again, as limited a set of things, as possible.

The remainder of societal interaction should be left in the trust, of the population at large.

Though I very much consider myself moderate-right in my leanings, I have zero problem, with folks having both more right, and left based positions, holding forth on their beliefs.

This applies to the “standard,” and social, media.

That said, it’s an expectation on the part of many, that the media complex (read here, “Newspapers, television and radio news reports, and the like”), be impartial in their reporting.

I’ve said before, and maintain now, I have absolutely no illusion, that will be the case.

Even if the lines between editorial and unbiased news reporting weren’t totally blurred, I’m of a mind that people will be biased, on the simple basis, that they have particular beliefs.

This can be reduced in some measure, by having multiple hands involved in what’s reported and how.

It’s an ongoing problem though, that most news organizations operate within a culture. That culture—as with most any enterprise—has a tendency to be biased, in a given direction.

Want folks who’ll not spend their days rubbing their coworkers the wrong way? Hire individuals who have similar belief sets, to those already in place.

All considered, the media, whether news entities, or various types of editorial components, is considered by many (incorrectly), to be unbiased.

And I don’t by any means, give a pass to media outlets on the right, either. If they’re not as biased as the mainstream, it’s because they’re typically more so.

In fact, there’s a tendency on the part of rightist media, to—if it were possible—be more editorial in their point of view.

Social media is another matter. For those in that sphere, there’s an expectation of a true lack of bias on the part of the platforms, that exist.

That’s not to say the people who work in such companies, have no bias. Neither is it true, that from a content perspective, various social media entities, will not have a potential tilt, in one direction or the other.

The truth is, where it’s allowed, there tend to be raucous voices in both directions, as well as some who’re more centrist in their outlooks.

The problem though is, the people who both own and more importantly run many social media platforms, have a tendency towards bias, which creeps into their management philosophies.

Equally important, is the fact that many who work for the businesses in question, either institute of their own accord, or in deference to their tech overlords, policies for various types of filtering, bans, and censorship, that generate a distinct bias, in the direction of the ownership or management of such entities.

Considering the businesses in question are literally protected by law, from being counted as content providers, such a tendency is untenable to say the least.

Simply put, it should be the mantra of social media entities, to provide a platform, and to do so without political bias.

If filtering, censorship, or bans of any kind occur, it should be on the basis of legality.

As I’ve said before, I’m in complete support of people being able to say (and even do, where there’s no illegality involved), things I consider entirely repugnant in nature.

That works for what’s put on various platforms that supposedly purvey social content, just as much as anywhere else.

In my mind, you should literally be allowed to publish outright falsehoods.

It should be the task of those consuming what makes its way out there, to work to decide what’s true, and what’s not.

None of that activity ought to be undertaken by the platform owners.

You saw that Jennifer Lopez, had a baby with a martian dad? To begin with, I think you maybe should take that with a grain (maybe a barrel) of salt.

At that point, it’s on you, whether or not you do the research to determine the veracity of the claim, or claims made.

Social media not only shouldn’t have to fact check for you, they really have no reason to assume they ought to take such actions.

So I don’t consider the media nor social media, to present perfect fact, in all instances. Of the two, it’s hard to say which is less prone to do so. In the case of social media though, the source is not the platform. As such, it should be possible to make determinations, on likely validity of that presented, if you’re able to readily determine who’s saying what. It’s not the job of social media platforms to determine correctness of information, nor to fact-check in any way. That’s my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.