Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Truth About Beauty

In the modern era, we seem to be consumed with the idea of beauty. Yes, I know that looks have always held a high place in mankind's mind/heart, but it seems in the 20th and 21st centuries, beauty has become an obsession, not only for people searching for it but for people wanting to be beautiful. What both the beholder and the beholden always seem to forget, however, is that beauty comes from the inside out. Yes, the physical attractiveness of a person is what most people see, but that's genetic; we have absolutely no control (without resorting to radical surgery) over how our faces are formed or how we look.

What we do control, however, is the beauty that is our heart and soul. "Beauty is as beauty does" is an old cliché, but it is absolutely true. Many people who are, or have been, exquisitely formed physically ruin that physical beauty by the ugliness of their soul and heart. Beauty is kindness, gentleness, meekness, lawfulness, compassionate, helpful, loving and empathetic. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were said to possess great physical beauty, but the ugliness of their actions obliterated any positives their physical appearance may have rendered. Ted Bundy was said to have "movie star looks", but the ugliness of his murders made that physical attractiveness moot.

Being a law abiding citizen who is kind and helpful to those around you, offering encouragement and love to those you come into contact with daily and being a dependable and trustworthy friend, relative or acquaintance makes you much more beautiful than anything your looks may offer. Jesus once used the following to describe a group of people, both individually and as a group: "you make clean the outside of the cup, but within you are full of extortion and excess." He was telling them that even though their outward appearance might be described as beautiful, the ugliness that was within made the outside appearance irrelevant.

People may look at you, without knowing you, and see the outer beauty, but anyone who spends any time with you is going to notice your inner beauty more than your appearance. If you lie, steal, cheat, backstab, gossip, betray, treat people with cruelty, break the law and otherwise do things that are not beautiful, then you will not be described as beautiful. The ugliness of the heart/soul will be what people think of when they hear your name.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The State of Our Nation

The United States of America has been fighting to recover from "The Great Recession". Several ideas and initiatives which were meant to jumpstart our economy have been tried, and while some of them didn't do much, we can't really say they've all failed. We narrowly escaped falling into a "double dip recession", thanks in most part to those initiatives and programs. And while the vast majority of Americans are struggling to survive month to month, I keep hearing the politicians blaming everyone but themselves. Of course, each party is blaming the other, but collectively the political machines from Washington, DC to the local city councils across the nation are blaming anything and everything except their own past actions and failures to act.

And while the politicos are throwing mud at one another, the average citizens who are affiliated with a particular political party/cause, regurgitate the bile and venom being offered by the politicians. Everyone keeps accusing the "other side" of not offering any plans to make things better when the truth of the matter is both sides have offered plans, but each party rejects anything and everything that comes from "across the aisle", out of hand, without really giving it a look see, simply because it came from "across the aisle."

I'm sick of hearing how Barack Obama is responsible for the economy. Whether you're a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Tea Party or Independent, you have to remember that the economy tanked during the previous administration. Obama didn't cause the economy to fail, and in fact, no President is able to cause our economy to fail or succeed. Our economy is 70% based on us, the consumers. We stopped spending and the economy faltered. We stopped spending because of huge scandals and failures in the banking industry, Wall Street and the automotive industry, but it was we who brought down our economy.

I know, I know. It's heresy in this country to actually state the truth that we are responsible. It's become the norm to blame everyone, anyone, else. No matter what the problem, we blame everyone but ourselves. But, it is time we got back to the basics of truth. Stop pawning our problems off on the shoulders of everyone else and stand up and face what we have done to ourselves, by ourselves.

And where did we come up with this idea that throwing mud at someone because they're not a member of our political circle is acceptable? That's NOT the teachings of Christ that I read in my Bible. Maybe I have a different version than most of the Christians I know or read in the media or on Facebook, but mine tells me to love each and every person on the planet the way God loves me. And that I am to speak only if my words are encouraging, exalting, good and joyful. I don't recall anywhere where it tells me to trash talk anyone or level accusations against people I don't know except for what appears in the media. We all know there's more to a person than what the media presents. And even if we do know someone more than just through the media, where did we get the idea that we can speak for God about the status of another person's heart? I seem to recall Jesus stating that no man can see into the heart of another man, that only God sees the heart of man.

More and more I see the Church of today resembling the institution that Jesus railed against during his years of Ministry. We have become the scribes and Pharisees; the Sadducees and the Sanhedrin. We've allowed our traditions to completely push out the Grace and Mercy and Love that Christ taught.

I keep hearing so many Christians saying that we need to get on our knees so God can heal our nation. I couldn't agree more, but the problem is, most of those people don't really want to get on their knees and ask God to forgive them for their judgmental attitudes and statements or their missing the mark; they want God to come down and strike dead everyone who believes differently than they do or who isn't a member of their favorite political party. I don't think God's a Republican or a Democrat. In fact, I know He's not, because He instructed us to not put our faith and treasure in the things of this world, because this world is not our home: Heaven is!