Paul's Musings

Tired of Being Side-Lined

For my birthday, I’ve written this letter…

To the Great Invisible and Unnameable Purveyors of our Culture,


Over the past few decades you have said that I need to listen to you more. “A time of listening” is what you and your disciples have demanded. The fact is, I have been listening. And, for most of my life, this is what I’ve heard from you:


[] I was told that my Christian faith is archaic, outmoded, hypocritical, abusive and oppressive. In the history of the world, Christianity has been a cancer on the collective brain, impairing education, medicine, science and civilization. You would stamp it out completely if you could. Then, to appear generous, you granted that I could have an innocuous version of my faith that is nothing more than a vague inspirational adornment; one that must never influence my actual thinking, worldview, priorities, or choices - and must never be confessed out loud.


[] If God ever existed, you proclaimed that He was dead. And then you made yourself the new god under the guise of education, science, commerce, and enlightenment.


[] You declared that absolute truth did not exist, then made your subjective truth absolute.


[] You praised individuality, even while you required conformity - and openly ridiculed individuals who were not your approved kind of different.


[] You promised freedom without responsibility, pleasure without consequences, affirmation without accomplishment, love without sacrifice.


[] Your artists used every means possible to tear down my values, my faith, and my cherished institutions, replacing them with vapid entertainment, unbridled consumerism, meaningless platitudes, and trendy whims.


[] You told me to imagine no heaven, no possessions, no countries, no religion, and I belatedly realized that you wanted me to imagine the absence of those things because you were slowly taking them away from me. With nothing to die for, there was little to live for. The brotherhood you promised has been a collective of sycophants that agree with you.


[] You praised our nation’s enemies, maligned our heroes, deconstructed our successes, and magnified our failures.


[] You lifted up hedonism, narcissism, self-indulgence, and egotism - and then you seemed bewildered when families and communities have broken down.


[] You created a culture of death and expected me to celebrate the ways you demeaned and disregarded human life.


[] You taught that I am merely part of the evolutionary food chain, a biological widget, with predetermined faults and programming, while also telling me that I can be whatever I wanted to be.


[] You viewed humanity like you do your technology: expendable and disposable. You have traded transcendence for obsolescence.


[] You offered no higher calling, no higher purpose to life, yet demanded the highest levels of allegiance to you.


[] You based “equality” not on our highest potential but on our lowest desires.

[] You gave me agenda-driven platitudes when I needed insight, and bumper-sticker phrases when I needed wisdom. 


[] You mocked humility, purity, modesty, respect, good manners, and basic civility - and then acted astonished when we became indifferent or aggressive to others.


[] You weaponized tolerance, equality, diversity, inclusivity, law, and social order - all to create a chaos you believe you can control.


[] You became rigid and unforgiving, eliminating grace, mercy, and forgiveness from your ideology.


[] You promised peace as long as I surrendered. 


[] You said you could fix everything if I gave you more power. When you were given more power, you fixed very little and wrecked even more, creating one crisis after another, and insisting on solving each one with the same failed solutions you’d used before.


[] You manipulated the needy and underprivileged to gain yet more votes, then did nothing for those people once you had their support.


[] You made me a victim and victimizer at the same time.


[] You demanded that the many must capitulate to your chosen few.


[] You suppressed discussion and debate with responses like “you’re stupid" and “shuttup.”


[] You lauded your intentions and ignored your ineffectiveness, as if meaning well was the same as doing well.


[] You declared that being male is the same as being a neanderthal; being female is to be a slave to the male, and being anything other than either of those two is noble and beautiful.


[] You promised that women would have equal opportunity and equal pay for equal work. Fifty years later, you have not delivered on that promise. Instead, you encouraged women to act like animals sexually, give their bodies away without love or intimacy, ignore their broken hearts, scarred souls, and blatant objectification. Blame men, you said. And rather than extol the virtues of self-restraint, purity, and abstinence, you handed out condoms, birth control, and abortion-on-demand - with no regard for the tragic consequences. You taught pro-choice, except for the choice to disagree with what your choices have done to them - and to all of us.


[] You said that equal rights, equal justice, and equal opportunity should be “color-blind.” But then you turned us into adversarial tribes - with no regard for talent, skill, intelligence, virtue, merit, ability, or common humanity - and have made color everything. 


[] You said I was on the wrong side of history, and then you tried to eliminate history by poisoning the past.


[] You shame me for acts I did not commit, words I never said, thoughts I never had, and lies I do not believe.


[] You position your convoluted guesswork as infallible science - and say I am ignorant for doubting it.


[] You have made our entire educational system an indoctrination camp while claiming to applaud open mindedness.


[] You insist that we sacrifice now for the fearful possibilities you see in your crystal ball of data and tarot cards of statistics.


[] You make yourself the exception to the rules you require the rest of us to follow.


[] You expect us to reconcile your inconsistencies and accept your aberrations of behavior, though they have defied common sense and acted against human nature. You coerce us to accept your many contradictory proclamations, bow to your irrational worldview, and sit by passively while you attempt to engineer humanity yet again - and again - and again.


[] You continually violate my terms of service.

After all these years of listening, I’ve decided that you have nothing more to say that is worth hearing. I’ve seen little in you, your actions, or the world you’ve created that makes me want to follow you into the dark abyss you call the future. I have better things to do with what little time I may have left.


So, with all due respect, I'll say only this one last thing to you, the faceless entities that dictate our Culture: YOU'RE STUPID AND I WANT YOU TO SHUTTUP.


(There. I feel much better now.)


The Marginalizing of Christianity

In the last few decades, those of us who have embraced a traditionally orthodox Christianity have seen a widening gap between what we value and what the culture around us promotes.


The Judeo-Christian foundation of our nation has given way to other philosophies and world-views. And those views have not been merely antithetical to what Christians believe, but antagonistic and hostile.


In the past decade, we have seen a significant movement to marginalize Christianity and its place in the public square.


Is there any doubt? Recent events have proven the now-accepted notion that any worldview is acceptable for a potential justice of the court, but a Christian worldview means a complete absence of the skills needed to judge cases fairly and lawfully. Little wonder that Christians in this country fear a continual erosion or elimination of religious freedom.


It has been uncomfortable and even disconcerting that, at times, the political champions for what traditional Christians value have not been good representations of traditional Christianity at all. But, what with few options, many Christians accept the help from wherever they can get it.



Stop for a Moment

I wonder what would happen if we paused for a moment and gave ourselves permission to…

Stop our instant indignation, our default to anger, our enraged reactions to everything.
Stop politicizing every aspect of our culture.
Stop taking ourselves so seriously and start laughing at ourselves more.
Stop intervening and advocating for people who haven’t asked us to do it.
Stop dictating to others what they should say, how they should say it, what they should buy, what they should watch, who they should listen               to, what they should like or dislike, or what they should think.
Stop accusing and start forgiving.
Stop making demands and consider making sacrifices.
Stop trying to change others.
Stop being prophets of our own doom.
Stop believing that merely expressing an opinion means we know what we’re talking about.
Stop trying to catch everyone out on what they do wrong and affirm what they do right.
Stop empowering people who have used threats, coercion or violence to earn their power.
Stop being snitches and tattle-tales.
Stop listening to the screaming voices that hate us.
Stop canceling those we disagree with.
Stop expecting mainstream media to give us news rather than opinions.
Stop penalizing people for past mistakes they didn’t make.
Stop inventing new words and terms to make others feel inferior.
Stop demeaning others, for any reason.
Stop adding to the noise and confusion.
Stop obsessing about our own pain and consider how to alleviate the pain of those around us.
Stop using lawlessness in the vain hope that it will create equal justice, equal rights, or equal opportunity.
Stop celebrating people who have gained fame without merit.
Stop thinking that the problems in the world are someone else’s fault.
Stop looking to technological devices to teach us about humanity.
Stop responding to complicated issues with sentimental platitudes.
Stop bullying others in the vain hope that it will persuade them of our point of view.
Stop compromising our deepest held beliefs to appease those who will not compromise their lack of beliefs.
Stop shooting each other.
Stop trying to solve unsolvable problems and start solving the problems that can be solved. They’re right in front of us.
Stop playing God.
Stop. Just For A Moment.


Comparing Revolutions

Compare three Revolutions and what happened once the Revolutionaries took power.


American Revolution (1775-1783).


6800 killed in action; 6100 wounded (plus 17,000 died from disease or hunger; possibly 8,000-12,000 of those were prisoners of war). Once the revolutionaries were in power and the government established, I can find no credible numbers recorded for deaths by post-war acts of retribution.


French Revolution (1789-1802).


Begun by the elite, furthered by “commoners,” ruled by various competing factions, wrecked by civil wars, ended by Napoleon Bonaparte. Total: 1,400,000 killed, murdered, executed. During the Reign of Terror (1793-1794) alone: 300,00 people were arrested, 40,000 killed. Many of the leaders of the revolution were eventually executed by other revolutionaries, including Robespierre, the "author" of the Reign of Terror.


Russian Revolution (1917-1987).


Conservative estimates put the total death toll at 61 million, with approximately 300,000-500,000 people executed as “enemies of the people” in the first couple of years after the revolutionaries took power; and over 20,000,000 killed for the same charge during Stalin’s reign (1924-1953).


Our current rioters/revolutionaries show their true selves when it comes to respect for law and order, respect for human life, respect for property, respect for the innocent, respect for justice, respect for equality… meaning that they show no respect for anything other than what they want. Violence and coercion are their weapons. 


Why do the supporters of this new revolution believe that the rioters/revolutionaries will create a regime that will uphold the very things the rioters insist on destroying? And do the supporters believe they will be exempt from the irrational reign of terror that will ultimately follow? History gives them the answer.


Listen to What Your Parents Told You

Funny how using social media defies all of those rules we were taught as kids…


Don’t talk to strangers.
Never invite someone into your home that you don’t know or trust.
Think before you speak. If you are angry, count to 10 before speaking.

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Mind your own business.
Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Leave well enough alone.
Don’t mess with things you don’t know how to use.
Get the facts before forming an opinion.
Let everything be done decently and in order.
Wait your turn.
Say “please” and “thank you.”
Control your emotions.
Respect your elders.
Remember that there are two sides to every story.
Let others go first.
Pick on someone your own size.
Let others have the last word.


And there’s a rule that’s come back after becoming “friends” with people who clearly don’t know who I am, so they can 1) ask for money; 2) pull me into a scam; 3) get account info (“Are you in this video?”); 4) waste time with questions they could answer if they looked at my profile... Or, in other words, they reinforce that great warning: Don’t touch that, you don’t know where it’s been!


Nation of Idiots

If the activists, academics, and news-propagandists are right - and we’re told by them that they always are - America is a hotbed of systemic “white privilege” geared towards the supremacy of white-skinned people - a condition that was placed in the very DNA of our nation by our European white-skinned Founders. 


And yet, if true, history shows that we’ve botched the whole thing. What failures we’ve turned out to be.


We’re supposed to be privileged supremacists but somehow we’ve let all the people we were supposed to oppress leave the fields, the slave quarters, the railroads, the factories, and the sweat shops. How did that happen?


How is it that some privileged supremacists - also called ‘Abolitionists’ - risked life and limb to go into the deep South to help free the slaves they were supposed to keep chained? How ridiculous is it that 300,000+ mostly white soldiers gave up their lives fighting in a war to end slavery? They must be kicking themselves beyond the grave for having let down the Founding Fathers’ insidious dream. 


And, unbelievably, those moronic privileged supremacists then allowed the oppressed to receive educations, to vote, to rise to positions of power in business and government, to contribute to the culture, the sciences, the arts, and to sports. The oppressed have even been given holidays in honor of their leaders and accomplishments. 


Hitler must be rolling in his ashes from intense disappointment. 


How did our privileged supremacists lose their dictatorial grip and fail to live up to the schemes and manipulations of the Founders? 
If only those sneaky wig-wearing white guys had been more careful with the wording in the Constitution! But, no. The freedoms they enshrined there, obviously intended for their own kind, slipped the leash and extended to the oppressed. Why didn’t somebody warn them, give them a pair of scissors to cut those parts out when they had the chance? 


It’s crazy now to think of the many people who have never known or felt the privileges they’ve been told they have. Think of the agony of being called supreme without ever knowing the benefits of supremacy. Think how they must feel when struggling to pay the bills, all while being lectured by oppressed celebrities who spend more in a month on sports shoes than those poor privileged supremacists will make in their lifetimes. What losers! 


The historic leaders of the great dynasties in the Far East and the vast empires of Europe, the mightiest tribes in Africa and South America, the powerful monarchs of the Middle East, are all laughing at our bungling. In their countries, in MOST countries, majorities rule by military might and wealth. Not here. In a mind-boggling twist, our regime of privileged supreme beings have attempted to share the inherent rights of its majority with its oppressed minorities. And get this: they often did it without being forced! Who in their right minds would agree to such a thing? 


Americans, that’s who. 


We’re a nation of idiots, and have been since our founding. Behavior and policies we could claim merely by being the victors and conquerors, we have forfeited. And it hasn’t happened because activists issued threats, or burned buildings, or pulled down statues. Ultimately, it happened because people of good will, who love freedom and democracy, law and order, and who recognize the value and dignity of human lives, recognized what was wrong and sought to make changes. The very majority that is being denounced as privileged supremacists are the ones who went to war, marched in protest, rallied their communities, debated in Congress, and shouted with their votes to push forward the view that all are created equal by God. Against the odds, yes. In defiance of their own kind, yes. Slowly, yes. Painfully, yes. But it has happened, and is happening still. We have done much that is good. Given the chance, we will do more. But it won’t happen by shaming, coercion, ridicule, and tantrums. 


Joseph Stalin must be shaking his hell-burnt head. We know well what he did to dissenters.


We forget what an outrageous and unprecedented experiment the United States of America has proven to be - a wild work in progress, constantly making mistakes, struggling between its humanity and idealism, sometimes abusing its freedom and power, reaching out blindly to comfort and aid both its allies and enemies (without always knowing which was which), clumsily banging this way and that, trampling one minute and elevating the next, arrogant and humbled, naive and cynical, slowly seeking its potential while rushing headlong into ignoble distractions, ever-stumbling three steps forward and two steps backward. Ours is a complex and troubled history. But, if there is a single ongoing theme, a nagging pursuit, a ragged thread throughout the fabric of who we are, it is simply this: freedom. Freedom, and all the difficulties that come from having it. Over two and a half centuries later and we’re still trying to figure it out.
We are the best of what many people believe we are and, at times, the worst of what some people say we are - but not always one or the other. Our strengths and weaknesses are on display for everyone to see and criticize, and so are our virtues and our sins. Few regimes would ever allow it. 

The only systemic thing about us is the impairment of our human condition. But we American fools keep trying to overcome that. 
You can add it to the list of our many failures. 
Thank God.


The Cancel Culture

The Cancellation Movement - which crosses all barriers of class, race and political persuasion - initially targeted public figures that did not meet its litmus test of perfection and purity in all of the things it deemed important, zeroing in on things the figures had recently done or said. The plan was to humiliate and then destroy those figures, usually for agenda-driven purposes, or for unadulterated spite. Sadly, enough people went along with it to reinforce its sense of power. 


But why stop with the immediate past? Thanks to the internet’s reach, the Movement broadened its tribunal of condemnation, attacking people for things they did or said in the past couple of decades, regardless of the context, or the intention. Lives and careers were destroyed in the social bloodlust. 

Apparently, the Movement’s retro-purge was so intoxicating to its members that they then turned their attention even further back, to the last century. There they scoured the records to find and expunge from society the people they found unworthy, living or dead. The juggernaut could not be stopped.

Now, history itself is being cancelled by the Movement. They demand that the people and events it deems offensive must be erased for its sins, by implication if not fact. Men and women who may have contributed great things to their families, communities, even the world, are maligned for not achieving an impossible standard that has been put upon them by these present-day strangers - strangers who know nothing of them, or their times, or their challenges. These strangers impose their assumptions, priorities, and causes on those people of the past, as if those men and woman should have known what they could not have known, or thought in ways it would never have occurred to them to think, or taken action in one direction when their times demanded action in another, or for being guilty of little more than being human. 


The Cancellation Movement is made up of petty-minded and unforgiving people who cannot tolerate the foibles of humanity. At its heart, the Movement is one of self-loathing. Its proponents cannot bear the weight of their own flawed human-ness, and so they redirect their disappointment, and disillusionment to others.


Here’s the irony. The history they are trying to cancel could show them the truth: in the end, they, too, are human and, they, too, are likely to be cancelled by their own Movement. Their accomplishments, memories, and successes will be defaced by the cycle of hatred they have set into motion. They will be punished for not adhering to their perfection. The Movement will inevitably implode, but God have mercy on the lives it destroys before it does. 

The solution? People of Good Will must unite to extend grace and understanding and forgiveness rather than succumb to this retro-condemnation and hatred. We can stop the Movement by refusing to join in its chorus. We can create a new chorus where we have common cause, and respect where we don’t, and drown them out, bringing harmony instead of discord. We can start a new song, based on the recognition that we are all impaired humans, yet endowed with remarkable potential by our Creator. 


If we can’t do any of that, or even try, then I would rather unfollow, unfriend, and unplug than let this horrible noise fill my heart and soul. It’s not that hard.


I'm Tired

I’ve taken a poll of myself today. With a margin of error at + or -5, here’s what I discovered from 100% of the me surveyed.


I’m tired.


I’m tired of everything being reduced to one side or another, as if there are only two sides to life’s questions: for or against, red or blue, black    or white - as if “It depends” and “I need more facts” and “I don’t want to rush to judgment” are not valid responses. Silence is not always          complicity or violence. Sometimes silence is thinking. 


I’m tired of the willful obstruction of ideas, fairness, communication, and justice by any side of any debate.


I’m tired of not being able to find news reporting that is not agenda-driven.


I’m tired of being told that, though I am a human being who feels strongly about injustice, I really can’t understand how another human being    feels because I am not that [gender, color, ethnicity, demographic, tribe-member, blood-type, shoe size, or whatever other category I am        not]. 


I’m tired of a culture that “permits everything and forgives nothing.”


I’m tired that every aspect of life is now politicized.


I'm tired that the very people who talk about love and compassion are often the very ones who prove to be the most hateful when they are    disagreed with.


I’m tired of violent mobs and lawbreakers telling me what I should think and how I should live; and those who are supposed to uphold the law  behaving like violent lawbreakers.


I’m tired of hashtags.


I’m tired of people adamantly presenting one-sided narratives that ignore the nuances of the human condition, the complexities of history, the  basic facts, and common sense - all to fit on a placard, in a Tweet, or as a soundbite. 


I’m tired of the assumption that if I can’t agree with people on one thing, then we can’t agree on anything. 


I’m tired of irrational actions being presented as if they are rational. 


I’m tired of the Cancellation culture and its lack of understanding and grace.


I’m tired of my own lack of patience, lack of humility, and lack of holiness, in a world that needs all three. 


I’m tired of not being able to think straight because of the relentless noise of contradictory opinions, accusations, advice, and declarations        coming from every side.


I’m tired of my own posts.