Political Correctness or Political Silliness?

Gracious! Am I really that old? Ancient!

I must be. Whenever I see the initials PC, my first thought is “personal computer.” I recall when an inheritance from my mother enabled my family to buy not one, but two personal computers. That was in 1994. I don’t recall the cost, but it was huge compared to what something comparable would cost today.

And those were desktop units, not laptops. That was before the days of flash drives, but those small “floppy drives” that weren’t at all floppy were still in use. And of course we still needed to use a dial-up modem to reach the Internet.

Nowadays, of course, nobody bothers with the “personal” part of PC, and only a few of us probably think first of computers when we read, see, or hear a reference to PC.

A few days ago, I was passing through Penney’s on the way to walk in the mall when I noticed that only one woman was holding down the fort at a gaggle of registers where two and sometimes even three women normally worked. My first thought was to pleasantly and sympathetically ask this lady if she was manning the fort by herself that day.

Manning? Oh, me! My bad! How thoughtless!

I didn’t say it, though, and I doubt seriously that this lady would’ve thought twice about my of “manning.” Why should she? Was I to have used–or even just thought–“womaning” or “personing”?

I don’t question the need to refrain from using offensive words. I’ve never used the n-word to refer to a black person. I’ve never even thought it, and I get upset if I hear it used.

So, is “African-American” the currently acceptable term, even though not all black people come from Africa? Nor do all of them live in America. How silly to refer to a black person in England as African-American? And if a word isn’t universally true, why should it be used at all?

Don’t get me wrong. I feel a very strong compulsion as a Christian to refrain from offending people knowingly.

But, gracious! Don’t I also recall a time when referring to a homosexual as “queer” was frowned on? Yet now, we have “LGBTQ,” if I recall the letters correctly, and I’ve probably left out some. Yet “fag” is apparently still considered offensive. (The Words with Friends dictionary doesn’t allow its use, even though it has definitions not related to homosexuality.)

Hmm. I’ll never be able to keep up with gay political correctness. Will the (very) old Christmas song referring to “don we our gay apparel” need to be rewritten, along with so many other things?

And don’t even suggest that we have to start referring to God as “She.” I can guarantee that the sperm that united with Mary’s egg to create Jesus did not come from a woman.

Yes, maybe I’m just too old-fashioned. I still believe in calling things what they are, avoiding anything that’s overtly offensive, but not fretting about much of the silliness that falls under the PC umbrella. Yet I’ve caught myself avoiding saying everything I want to say on this subject because I never know when the PC police might be watching and call me down on it.

I also grew up during the time when “you can’t legislate morality” was a popular saying. Designating certain behaviors illegal as one thing, but true morality is a matter of the heart. Or is it? According to the liberal PC-ers and other post-modernists, everyone’s morality would be different since they claim there’s no such thing as absolute truth.

Hmm. I think I’m better off continuing to think of PC as “personal computer.” It’s safer and less frustrating.

What do you think of political correctness? Do you have any particular dislikes? Please share a comment. We can all go down together.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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Walking Sticks

I’ve seen enough pictures of the Holy Land to appreciate how important a walking stick must have been in biblical times to anyone traveling by foot. Not only for stability, but maybe even for defense against robbers and wild animals.

I’ve been reading from the Old Testament the past few weeks, and I’m in Exodus now. It’s been interesting to read once more about Moses throwing down his staff–I’m assuming that’s the equivalent of  a walking stick–and having it turn into a lively and rather frightening snake. And then God telling him to pick it up  and turning it back into a staff.

Later on, when the Children of Israel were complaining about the lack of water, God told Moses to strike a rock with his staff, and that made water flow from a rock. If I remember correctly, Moses got in trouble with the Lord later on when he tried to do the same thing on his own initiative and not because God told him to. In fact, wasn’t Moses’ disobedience the thing that prevented him from being permitted to enter the Promised Land when they finally got there?

I’ll bet Jesus used a walking stick, too. He certainly did a lot of moving around from village to village, and He and His disciples had to walk. I often wonder what His walking stick looked like. No matter what kind of wood it was made from, I suspect it had a well-worn look by the last time He used it.

I often use a walking stick, too. Not because I can’t walk without one, but because I can trip over a line in the floor. So it’s especially important for me to use one when walking at the mall or in the neighborhood. In addition to adding stability, it helps me keep my rhythm in walking. Unlike walkers in Jesus’ day, I doubt I’ll need it for defense, but you never know.

Even though a physical walking stick like you see me with in this unusual selfie adds stability to my physical movements, what’s ultimately more important is leaning on the Lord for my overall walk through daily life. David knew what he was talking about when he wrote in Psalm 23, “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Those words of assurance are comforting and good to lean on.

How about leaving a comment?

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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Fog and Haze

 

Life is full of problems, isn’t it?

Sometimes they’re little. Things that irritate or distract us, but aren’t terribly important from the viewpoint of eternity–oversleeping, burning the toast, having to scrape frost off the windshield, bogging down behind slow drivers who’re hogging the fast lane, forgetting one’s wallet.

And that’s just the beginning of the day. The list of other possibilities is endless.

No matter how small those things are, they tend to get us off to a bad start. If we’re realistic, however, we would admit that none of them is apt to change our lives for the worse permanently.

It’s like driving through a patch of fog. We know we’ll soon come to a clear spot and the rest of the fog will eventually burn off and disappear.

Too many people feel like they’re living in a haze rather than simply passing through foggy spots. Whatever they’re enduring seems endless. And hopeless. Whether their problems are financial ones that seem to keep binding them tighter, relationships that make life painful or unbearable, or a persistent physical problem the doctor can’t determine the cause of or treat successfully, those people can’t seem to see beyond the haze surrounding them.

They’re very much like these two Nicaraguan villagers. No matter how far or how fast they peddle, their road is dirt, and peddling through it will always make everything around them appear hazy.

They don’t have the power to change their situation. They can only dream of a ride like this that’s at least a little clearer:

It’s actually the same road, though, and it’s still dirty and dusty. The difference is one of perception.

God views our problems far differently from the way we do. He sees solutions we can’t even dream of.. He doesn’t enjoy watching us suffer. He wants to help.

We just need to reach out to Him in faith.

If solving the problem and removing the haze is His will, He will do so. But sometimes He seems to prefer helping us  deal with the haze rather than providing an immediate solution.

Of course that’s frustrating. But acknowledging that He’s in control can change our perception.

Rather than feeling totally overwhelmed, lost in our haze of worry and uncertainty…

 

He wants to help us see our situation more clearly:

I can’t imagine any Christian waking up each morning and saying, “Lord, give me more problems so I can depend on You more.” But I hope every true Believer begins the day with a prayer that says, “It’s all in Your hands. That’s all I need to know.”

For some reason, this blog post has been a hard one to write. I hope and pray that it’s made sense and has perhaps even spoken to a personal need. Your comments will be welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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In Other Words

 

Okay, I admit it. As a writer I pay close attention to words. Obsessively close at times.

Everyone’s words. Spoken and printed. Live and recorded. Loving words and hateful ones. Kind words and unfeeling ones. Sacred words and blasphemous ones. Uplifting words and depressing words.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I have several pet peeves regarding words and word usage. Maybe more than several, but several illustrations will suffice.

In a couple of my novels, a character expresses frustration about the use of the word awesome to describe anyone or anything but God. It’s bad enough when non-Christians are describing something pretty insignificant–“This gum is awesome”–but since they would never say God is awesome, their use of that word is simply inappropriate. Or at least a horrible exaggeration.

I have yet to find a, uh, a more awesome way to describe God’s indescribable qualities than to call Him awesome. So when a Christian says God is awesome and also describes other things that way–nothing comes close to being as awesome as God–it strikes me as a sacrilege. What makes it worse is the fact they’ve probably never thought about what they’re doing when they talk that way.

Another of my verbal pet peeves is the word famously.  I’d never heard it used that often until the last several years, although I can’t prove that its use is getting worse. Nonetheless, I keep running into famously–I can’t even stand the way it sounds, and it’s an ugly-looking word in print. Particularly in news articles. Like this line I ran into a few minutes ago, the one that inspired this post:

It follows the famous case of Kate Steinle, who was famously shot to death in San Francisco in 2015 by an illegal immigrant (etc.)

If something is famous, it’s already too well-known to need to be pointed out as being well-known. And the sentence I quoted is an especially horrific example. The “famous case”? Sorry, news writer, but it is an all-too-famous case; you don’t need to tell us that. And then to add “famously shot to death” makes that whole part of the sentence sound redundant.

Enough said. I don’t want to start sounding redundant, too.

While I’m on this soapbox, however, let me share one other word-related pet peeve. Like awesome, this one applies mostly to Christians. I’m not someone who thinks of “darn” as a substitute for “damn” or “heck” as a substitute for “hell.” And I daresay  Christians who use the word “jeez” don’t think of it the way I do.

Nonetheless, I hear jeez as a substitute for Jesus. And it’s not used in praise or adoration, but as a common expression of…whatever.

It offends me so much I’ve asked my wife not to use it when we play Words with Friends. She usually honors my request, even though the ability to get rid of a J and a Z in the same play must be frustratingly tempting.

What about you? Do these pet peeves of mine make sense? Do those things bother you, too? Are there other words that bother you? Your comment will be welcome.

I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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A Prayer for Old Age

Dearest Heavenly Father–Papa–my life is just as much in Your hands as it’s always been, and I have many things to be thankful for and nothing of a particularly selfish nature to ask You for. Sure, I can think of a few things that would be nice to have, but they’re not the least necessary at this stage of my life. If they were, I feel confident You would provide them.

No, this prayer isn’t about things.

I do have concerns about my future, however. Not my eternal future, of course. I know I’ll be living with You among millions–probably billions–of other Christians when it’s my turn to “move” to Heaven.

At seventy-one, I’m not really very old. Even so, I’m conscious of the fact I’m getting older. I sense it daily. My body is no longer capable of doing things that used to be so simple, and my mind struggles all too frequently trying to remember a familiar word or the name of someone I know well. Those limitations are frightening.

But they’re are all part of aging, and it would be foolish to pray to avoid them. Instead I ask Your help in accepting and living with those limitations.

Lord, You know my greatest desire is to use the talents You’ve given me to serve You and to share the Good News of salvation with other people. You understand my frustrations at not being good at using the spoken word to do that. I’m thankful for the writing skills and musical abilities You’ve blessed me with and the spiritual truths You’ve given me to share with other people.

And the opportunities You’ve given me to share.

I’m thankful I can still participate in the nursing home ministry and share audio and video recordings of some of my songs on my website–and through YouTube. I take great pleasure in having many of my Christian novels published–and in hoping they will bless and entertain numerous readers.

Even so, the time may come when I can no longer sing or play my guitar, and the time may come when I’m no longer able to write. A time may even come when I don’t know who or where I am.

Papa God, I can’t pray “against” aging, but I beg You to keep me spiritually active to the very end. And to keep me so close to You that nothing else matters.

Please use me any way You choose…to the very end. Amen.

Do you have a prayer for old age? How about leaving a comment? 

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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An Extra Post: an Original Easter Song

NOTE: If you follow my other blog, As I Come Singing, you’ll receive this same post this Wednesday. But I  couldn’t resist sharing it with my On Aging Gracelessly readers today as something extra.

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When into the garden silently came
Troubled women to anoint the body of their friend,
Who–Friday on a cross–had been slain.

These women had endured his trial; these women had watched him die.
They’d wept as they saw his body torn by pain.
But they never stopped to think–they never realized–
That what he had told them was true:
That they’d see him in the flesh, alive again.

The women approached the tomb in the stillness of the dawn,
When they saw that the rock was gone from the door.
“Fear not,” an angel said, “the one you seek is not dead,
But has risen and lives today, and his spirit will live with you evermore.”

Then dawned Sunday, the first day of the week,
When out from the garden joyously ran
Shouting women to proclaim that one who had been slain
Had lived, died, and arisen as God and man.

About this Song:
This is one of my oldest songs–thirty to forty years. I used rhymes a lot more back in the early days of my song writing. And this particular song falls  more distinctly into the folk sound I’ve never really outgrown than some of my more recent songs.

Honestly, there’s one thing about this song I don’t like, and I don’t know what to do about it. That’s the part about the angel saying Jesus’ “spirit will live with you evermore.” While Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to believers following his ascension, I don’t believe any of the Gospel accounts of the women in the garden had the angel(s) say anything about that.

Poetic license is one thing, but purposely and knowingly misquoting an angel is something else.

Suggestions, anyone? How about leaving a comment?

I hope you have a blessed Easter and that your thoughts are more about the significance of Jesus’s coming back from the dead than about the Easter bunny and chocolate eggs. I can assure you the Easter bunny was NOT present at the empty tomb on that glorious Sunday morning.

~*~

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I’ll be back again next Wednesday.

Best regards,
Roger

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Christianity has a number of different denominations, all too many of which don’t act very lovingly towards those that disagree with them. Probably the thing that divides Christians most frequently has to do with the interpretation of Scripture. No matter how true I believe the Bible is in its entirety, I’m the first to admit that the Bible contains many things I cannot hope to understand with certainty.

And one of those is a doctrine known to those who believe in it as “once saved, always saved.” In layman’s terms, that means that once a person becomes a Christian–confesses his sins, asks God’s forgiveness, and places his life under the lordship of Jesus Christ–he or she has an irrevocable ticket to Heaven.

At its most extreme, I would assume that someone who became a Christian at an early age and later chose to become a devout Muslim would still be counted a Christian at death. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

I have a cousin who grew up in a fine Christian home and undoubtedly became a Christian when he was younger. I forget the name of the group he now follows, but it’s one of those religions that rejects Christianity’s claim to be the only way. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

That’s pretty specific, don’t you think?

But how can my cousin still be counted a Christian at the time of his death? Again, it doesn’t make sense.

People who believe in “once saved, always saved” tend to put a disclaimer on the idea. Anyone who TRULY becomes a Christian–not someone who simply goes through the motions–is permanently saved. And, yes, that makes sense.

But it still doesn’t answer the question about the Christian-turned-Muslim or the cousin-turned-whatever.

I think about this often because I pray regularly for my cousin as if he is not a Christian. But then I start thinking about some well-known folks who seemingly became very devout Christians, but whose faith I know nothing about now.

One case in point is Eric Clapton. I loved his song, “The Presence of the Lord.” And the song he wrote after the death of his son, “Tears in Heaven,” still has Christian references. But did he abandon his relationship with God during that time? And if he did, would he still be considered a Christian?

I honestly don’t know.

Another case in point is Bob Dylan. You younger readers may not be as familiar with him, but he was the voice of his generation back during the 1960s and 1970s. And he became such a strong Christian that he not only recorded three Christian albums, he quit singing his old secular songs in concert for a while, which greatly displeased the non-Christians in the crowd. To the best of my knowledge, he’s gone back to secular music, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But does he still have that saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus?

I wish I could tell you.  But I don’t know the answer to that, either.

I’m going to sum this whole question up in the way that seems most satisfactory. God knows the hearts of everyone. And He’s the one who’ll make the proper determination when the time comes. The perfect determination, because God Himself is perfect.

How thankful I am not to have His job!

Do you have an opinion about the “once saved, always saved” doctrine or about any of the questions I’ve raised? Please share a comment if you do.

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger