Stop It Right Now!

Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

     In one week, the local school children will be headed back to school, and not a minute too soon according to many moms, especially moms who have two or more children at home.  The start of summer is usually great!  The kids play with each other, attend camps, go on vacation, and spend quality time together.  Those family photos from early summer show happy children frolicking in the sun and enjoying just being together without the responsibility of school.  Moms are able to sit back and read a book or sip iced tea while the kids play together joyfully. Ah, it is a wonderful time!

     Then, about mid-July, when the kids are forced inside by the extreme heat, things change. It’s too hot to play outside where there’s room to run and play and stay out of each other’s way. The camps are over. Vacation is just a memory.  The boredom sets in. What’s a kid to do for a little excitement? Aggravating a sibling by touching him or his “stuff” will certainly get the party started. So, one taps the elbow of the other who is about to put a spoonful of cereal and milk in his mouth, spilling it on the table and – if lucky – in his companion’s lap.

     “Quit it!” the victim screams.

     “You deserved it!” responds the offender.

     “What’d I do?” says the other.

     “Remember that time you took my headphones?”

     “That was last summer!  Who cares?”

     “I care.  I’m still mad at you.”

     “That’s stupid!”

     “No, you’re stupid!”

     “No, you are!”

     “No, you are!”

     “No…

     Now, this is where timing is crucial.  As soon as it becomes apparent that a fight is about to begin, the good mom quickly speaks in a loud and scary voice, “Stop it right now!”  For most kids, the “tone” comes through loud and clear.  They know that taking the conflict to the next level will most certainly result in something painful to their allowances, their free time, or their backsides.  Most won’t chance it, at least not immediately. As good moms know, it is during these times of unrest that they must be the most vigilant, watching and waiting for one child or the other to fan the flame and reignite the war.  She must be ready to douse the flame, being careful not to take a side. She must point out the wrongs that each child has committed to make them think about all the ways that either one could have been the better person and nipped the growing “war” in the bud. The good mom is not afraid to call them out and even inflict a swift and appropriate punishment on both.

     What a good mom knows – and must teach her children – is that dredging up old offenses never rights a wrong, but it can certainly create new ones.  She must be the voice of reason and – more importantly – the voice of  God’s wisdom, giving her children the words and thoughts they need to be able to live among other people.  She must speak as Paul spoke and let her children know that the past cannot and should not be forgotten.  She must teach them to remember their failures and learn what to avoid in the future.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  These words echo God’s words spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

     Most importantly, a good mom must teach the Golden Rule in the manner in which it was intended. In an article entitled “What Is the Golden Rule?” found at GotQuestions.org, it is explained this way:

“The English Standard Version translates the Golden Rule like this: ‘Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ Jesus brilliantly condenses the entire Old Testament into this single principle, taken from Leviticus 19:18: ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’ Again, we see the implication that people are naturally lovers of self, and the command uses that human flaw as a place to start in how to treat others.”

     Judging by the behavior of some young rioters who are emerging in this country, it is possible that their moms failed to pass on these important words of wisdom or that they simply failed to listen.  Whatever the case may be, this childish behavior can lead to dire consequences – and has.  Whether a person believes in God or not does not mean that he can’t come to understand His teachings for living a complete life.  Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, put it this way:

     To all the moms who take the time to step in, step up, and speak words of wisdom words of wisdom, may God continue to bless your good works. For those who have somehow “missed the mark” (Strong’s Greek: hamartanó – to miss the mark, do wrong, sin), it is never too late to start righting wrongs.  It should not be done through rioting and killing and teaching hate but through telling the children (even the adult ones) to “Stop it right now!” Then, follow up with a lesson on what good, decent behavior is and how important it is to treat others with respect and kindness, especially when they make us angry.  More importantly, the moms (and the dads) must model the behavior they wish to see in their children.  When we choose to spread true wisdom, the kind that builds up instead of tears down, that forgives instead of condemns, that joins instead of separates, that loves instead of hates, we can start moving toward a perfect world, the one God intended for us.

Please follow and like us:
error

Getting Past the Past: Police Shootings Are a Moral Issue

Education, Front Page, Government and Politics, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

Stealing cookies

    A child sneaks a cookie from a cookie jar.  A teenager slips out of the house to attend a party.  A worker fudges on his time card.  A driver texts while in a school zone.  A hometown football star uses steroids.  A man cheats on his spouse while out of town.  A government official uses her office to get contracts for her husband’s company.  School teachers conspire to change test scores. An employee absconds with the company birthday-party fund.   A 12-year-old boy steals guns from a pawn shop that will help others kill police officers.  A presidential candidate lies to the FBI.  When people consciously make immoral or unethical choices, it creates imbalance in the society in which they live, and the other members of that society are forced to deal with the behavior in some manner.  Most rational people understand that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

    On Fox’s “The Kelly File” last week,  Jessica Disu, a Chicago Black Lives Matter activist and proponent of transformative justice, said that American police forces should be abolished.  “Here are the solutions. We need to abolish the police, period. Demilitarize the police, disarm the police, and we need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice,” said Disu.   Abolishing the police will most assuredly stop the killing of cops since there won’t be any to target, but will that solve the real problem, the problem of immorality?

     Combating immorality does indeed require teaching and guidance so that all humans can become perfect just as we are called to be in Matthew 5:48:  “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  E. Stanley Jones, a 20th-century Methodist Christian missionary and theologian, suggests in his book The Christ of the Mount: A Working Philosophy of Life that we think of the “perfect” life as a “complete” life.  In so doing, it seems more attainable. Those who consciously work toward inner perfection choose to do what is right, which means they are choosing a good life, a heaven on earth, regardless of past experiences, historical events, or physiological circumstances.  People of all kinds choose immoral behavior; they create their own hell every day, which unfortunately bleeds all over the rest of us.  It is as simple as that. When groups of people join others in creating hell, chaos rules.  In order to bring order out of chaos, God’s laws must reign supreme, especially the law that commands:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12).

     Do kids who are taught this law and understand the difference between right from wrong perform immoral or unethical acts?  Sometimes they do.  Because all humans have free will,  no one is exempt, not even a priest or a preacher’s kid.  Do kids who grow up in households where God’s laws are not taught turn out to be good people making moral decisions?  Of course, they do.   Those who choose to have complete lives come from all backgrounds.  God’s grace is for everyone; it is the great equalizer.

     So, if a child steals a cookie and is not reprimanded for doing so, he may get the idea that taking what he wants when he wants is acceptable.  If the adults in his life laugh about the minor infraction in front of the child and lead him to believe that his behavior is funny or cute, it then becomes a way to get everyone’s attention.  Soon, this “cute” behavior left unchecked creates a demanding child no one can stand or a spoiled child who who steals a gun – or worse – uses one to kill a cop or a neighbor or a schoolmate to get what he wants.  Jumping from stealing cookies to stealing guns may seem like a giant leap, but failure to teach a child right from wrong in the early years sets him on a path to self-destruction, a path that is guaranteed to be filled with misery for everyone involved – not just the child.

     People must get past the past and make a personal commitment to living a perfect life by following God’s laws because no law of man will ever fix the real problem of a fallen world.  For now, we must pray for protection of those who are in harm’s way.  We must pray that those who wish to do them harm will surrender to God and seek His ways instead of the ways of a vengeful people.  Finally, we must thank God for the people in our midst who are called to defend us against the forces of evil.  They are brave men and women who show up to work each day understanding that they may not return to their families that night, but they show up anyway.  God bless them!

Please follow and like us:
error

Living la Vida Bluff Style!

Arts, Business, Education, Flour Bluff, Food and Drink, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial, Outdoors, Religion, Sports, Travel
IMG_5042
Sunset on Cayo del Oso in Flour Bluff

     I guess taking part in my 40th class reunion made me a bit nostalgic concerning my hometown, Flour Bluff.  It is a little community of about 20,000 fiercely independent people that sits on the Encinal Peninsula between Cayo del Oso and Laguna Madre.  On Aug. 5, 1961, the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, voted to annex Flour Bluff while Flour Bluff voted to incorporate as a separate city.  The Corpus Christi City Council passed an annexation ordinance, and city police began patrolling in Flour Bluff.  Suits filed by Flour Bluff residents to block annexation were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that it did not have jurisdiction in the matter.  Even though Flour Bluff officially became part of Corpus Christi, the people don’t really seem to know it.  That’s why most Flour Bluffians say they are “going to town,” when in actuality they are simply crossing one of the two Oso bridges into Corpus Christi proper.

Capture

IMG_5757

     Once known as the “Gateway to Padre Island,” Flour Bluff is home to the award-winning Flour Bluff Independent School District and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, the two largest employers in the community.  These two entities have supported each other since World War II when the Navy commissioned the base in 1941.  Flour Bluff, like many Texas towns, was influenced by ranching and oil and gas.  Add to that tourism, highlighted by fishing, boating, birding, and water sports, the diverse nature of the community starts to take shape.

An aerial view of Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, as it appeared on January 27, 1941, seventy-two years ago today. The air station was commissioned in March 1941.
An aerial view of Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas, as it appeared on January 27, 1941. The air station was commissioned in March 1941.
IMG_5040
The first school was opened in 1892 in the community of Brighton, later to become Flour Bluff.
IMG_5024
Kite surfing, boating, fishing, and great meals at Laguna Reef in Flour Bluff
FB 10
Flour Bluff is home to countless species of birds.

    It is possible to live and work in Flour Bluff and never leave except to visit a major hospital, which is just five minutes away.  Flour Bluff has its very own HEB Plus and Super Walmart along with a host of unique shops and businesses that meet the everyday needs of the people.  It has an active business association, three fire stations (federal, county, and city), a police substation, various banking institutions, eateries of all types, and even a brewery!  Add to this three quick-care clinics, local dentists, a vet clinic serving large animals and small pets, accommodations for out-of-town guests, a twenty-four hour gym, multiple auto mechanic shops, storage facilities, car washes, insurance companies, attorneys-at-law, and a host of other businesses that offer the citizens of Flour Bluff basic amenities of life. Of course, churches of all denominations and community organizations enrich the lives of the people, too. If a person wants something more, indoor and outdoor malls are within a ten-minute drive east while the Gulf of Mexico is ten minutes the other direction. Padre Island sports the longest stretch of undeveloped, drivable beach in America (60 miles).  Del Mar College, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and the Craft Training Center provide educational opportunities beyond high school and are all under a 20-minute drive from Flour Bluff.

    

https://i1.wp.com/media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/08/09/05/af/candlewood-suites-south.jpg?resize=342%2C227&ssl=1

     Living in Flour Bluff comes in all shapes and sizes.  The community offers many housing choices – including affordable housing, and multiple realtors in the area are available to assist newcomers in finding the perfect home.  Some residents in Flour Bluff enjoy the rancher’s life and own large pieces of property with room for horses and cows.  Others love living on the water.  Waterfront properties are available along Oso Bay, Laguna Madre, and parts in between where ponds and canals exist.  Many people prefer little or no yard maintenance and live in single or multi-level apartments or condominiums.  Flour Bluff welcomes its friends from the colder parts of the country in the many RV parks in the community.  Most residents, however, live in quiet neighborhoods filled with the whir of lawnmowers and the laughter of children.  Yes, there is indeed something for everyone!

FB 1

FB 2

   IMG_5032

  IMG_5043

FB 8

IMG_5031

     Flour Bluff offers many outlets for family fun.  The community has a public and school pool, little league softball, baseball, and kickball fields, youth football organizations, activities at Flour Bluff Schools (i.e. basketball, football, volleyball, softball, academics, arts, music, NJROTC), a skateboard park, a disc golf park, multiple playgrounds, and other facilities for activities such as martial arts, soccer, tennis, rugby, and horseback riding.

 IMG_5764

IMG_5765

IMG_5766

IMG_5771

IMG_5788

IMG_5795

IMG_5803

          Seasonal events give everyone something to anticipate.  Whether it’s the Navy hosting the Blue Angels, the Flour Bluff Homecoming Parade, the Flour Bluff Business Association Community Christmas, the Flour Bluff Fire Department Santa float, or the Flour Bluff 8th-Grade trip to HEB Camp in the Hill Country, those who know Flour Bluff, know it has a host of unique offerings for the community.  Maybe it’s a school that’s excels in everything.  Maybe it’s the year-round great weather conducive to outdoor activities like fishing, boating, swimming, and surfing.  Maybe it’s the tight-knit community that welcomes people from all over the world to be a part of what is happening here.  Maybe it’s the rich history or unique geographical location. Maybe it’s the class reunions, Friday-night football, or visiting with old friends in the grocery line. Whatever it is, Flour Bluff is a great place to live, visit, play, raise a family, and take part in a community that is like no other.

15-16_hc_parade_002

Santa float

13517617_10207004258848307_3865094402783190290_o

     Spending the weekend with childhood friends (Flour Bluff Class of ’76), driving the Bluff in search of what is new or changed, writing this article, and gathering pictures for it takes me to the heart of a place I have called home for nearly 50 years.  Even those who have moved away still feel her tugging at their heartstrings. She definitely leaves an impression.  Flour Bluff, like every little “town”, has its problems, but that which is good outweighs them all.  I just wish more people could experience living la vida Bluff style!

 

Please follow and like us:
error

God Teaches Us How to Live – through our Dogs

Front Page, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

Dog BanWDog Griff M and DLoving and losing a dog is heartbreaking.  These creations of God enrich our lives in a way that perhaps only dog lovers can understand.  Could it be that we are drawn to them because they teach us godly lessons?   As a tribute to all those dear canine friends who have graced our lives and left us, I offer the following biblical references to answer this question:

 

  • Take joy in running, romping, and playing daily.   “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Proverbs 17:22

Dog Emma and Bingo

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.  “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.”  1 John 3:18

Dog jumping up

  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

Dog Neiser and Griff

  • Do your best to practice obedience.  “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”  Hebrews 13:17

Dog Lane and Maverick

  • Take time to nap.   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

Dog Griffyn Matthew Bodhi

  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.  “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.”  Ecclesiastes 9:7

?????????????

  • Be loyal to your master.  “If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.”  Matthew 24:46

Ben

  • Spend more time with children.  ““See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. ”  Matthew 18:10

Taylor and BenDog Boys and ScrappyDog GreetingDog Oreo

  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”  Colossians 3:23

Dog-Digging

  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do, especially when correcting a naughty child.  “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”   Galatians 6:1

Dog Scrappy and Riley

  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.  “… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,”  Ecclesiastes 3:4

Dog Bubble

  •  No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:31-32

 

Dog Ben and Griff Fighting Dog Ben and Griff making up

     Let us always be mindful of the importance of the dogs in our lives.  Let us not take them for granted or treat them poorly.  Let us learn what we can from them while they are with us.

Dog Ami

 

Please follow and like us:
error

A Cow Named Horse: Political Correctness, Doublespeak, and Trickery

Around the State, Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial, Religion

Co-Authored by Dan Thornton and Matthew Thornton

A Cow Named Horse
A Cow Named Horse

     Several years have passed, but I still remember the joy I found in naming my cow “Horse.”  It was a little mischief I played on my young nephew Matthew, a special bit of humor you might say. Certainly, it was not an original idea.  I think I most likely took my cue from the Viking’s naming of Iceland and Greenland, another obvious attempt at deception.  It was many years later, after many re-tellings of the story, that I realized that I was using a harmless form of “Doublespeak.”

     Have you ever wondered about the difference between the Secretary of War and the Secretary of Defense? What about terrorists and freedom fighters? Did you ever think that a preemptive strike seems more like an unprovoked attack? Why are some people unique while others are weird? And what is a substance abuse problem if not a drug addiction?  Why do we refer to failing a grade as being held back? Are we just trying to be PC (politically correct)?  Exactly what does it mean to be politically correct?  If you look for synonyms in the dictionary, you’ll find a myriad of terms, such as: considerate, diplomatic, gender-free, inclusive, inoffensive, liberal, multi-cultural, sensitive, non-discriminatory, non-racist, non-sexist, bias-free, and respectful, to name a few.

1984

     George Orwell, who perhaps commented best on the subject in his novel Nineteen Eight-Four, developed what he referred to as Newspeak and Doublethink.  Unfortunately, the Orwellian term, Newspeak, has come to carry a negative connotation because it is defined as the manipulation or switching of words to make an unpleasant, or otherwise negative situation, sound… not as awful. In contemporary news, we refer to this as spin.  In particular, Orwell created the word Newspeak to describe the dangers of its use by governments to control the masses. In reality, political correctness is hardly different.  It has acquired a cult status and is frequently used to suppress free speech, prevent meaningful discussion, and ultimately create hate crime laws.  If it all sounds a bit Orwellian, it is.  Political correctness is a coercive device used to punish nonbelievers, reward cultists, and ostracize anyone who questions the philosophy of the government as it attempts to achieve its goals.  (As a quick reference, consider The Patriot Act, which allows the government to monitor  – or secure – phone and computer records without a search warrant. A better term for this legislation might be The Loss of Privacy Act. Before political correctness was in vogue, it was crudely referred to as tyranny.

“I have appointed a Secretary of Semantics–a most important post. He is to furnish me with forty to fifty dollar words. Tell me how to say yes and no in the same sentence without a contradiction. He is to tell me the combination of words that will put me against inflation in San Francisco and for it in New York. He is to show me how to keep silent–and say everything. You can very well see how he can save me an immense amount of worry.” – Harry Truman

     Let us consider a recent and particularly controversial example. In the summer of 2015, the Supreme Court decided that gay marriage was legal in all fifty states.  Of the masses that the ruling did not directly affect, many could not have cared less to see the finalization of such an amendment. Certain religious groups, however, became very upset with the decision, and their point, as we shall see, is valid. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, a 2013 story resurfaced about an Oregon bakery whose owners refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding and suggested an alternative to the potential buyers. The would-be customers brought legal action, and the owners were forced to pay an exorbitant $135,000 fine that resulted in the closing of the bakery. Whether or not the bakers’ decision to turn away paying customers was a business-savvy or morally aligned move is debatable as a matter of opinion. Such debate, however, will not change the fact that from a legal and constitutional standpoint, the Supreme Court put the state in a position to forcibly negate and sacrifice religious rights in order to preserve gay rights.

     More recently there have been cases where the courts have forced individuals to take sensitivity training in order to overcome their religious beliefs. Imagine a nation that boasts its freedom of religion and freedom of speech yet denies both and enforces the politically correct rights of another. How much more totalitarian can it get than to take a so-called progressive freedom such as that of gay rights and turn it into an inverse function that negates one of the nation’s oldest and most traditional freedoms? The bakery, previously referenced, would certainly be in the minority in Portland, Oregon, as most bakeries would not turn away perfectly good business under such circumstances. Why then was there the need for government intervention? Why not just allow the business owners to succeed or suffer the fate of their religious conviction? Is that not what freedom of religion entails? Perhaps the irony of the whole matter is that marriage itself is a Christian religious tradition that has nothing to do with the state. We may recall that it has always been referred to as holy matrimony.

“If people can’t control their  own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other peoples’ behavior” – Robert Skinner

StopPC

     It might be meaningful at this point to examine the true meaning of political correctness in order to gain a full understanding of its underlying tyranny.  First, the word political comes from the Greek word, politikos, and refers to the practice of influencing others. Children, in their earliest days of learning to speak, begin trials of informal politicking. From the first time they play mother against father to get an extra serving of ice-cream at dinner, they come to the understanding that they are able to manipulate the world around them and create the circumstances of their desire. In its most rudimentary form, then, politics is nothing more than a person’s attempt to get what he or she wants. What one person wants, however, could very easily result in the pain or loss of another. In our politically correct, highly evolved, ever-so-civilized world, people are not socially or legally granted the freedom to go out and seize whatever they wish to have without at least considering the perennial destruction that may be left in the wake of their otherwise self-centered campaign.  Sound politicking, therefore, requires not only getting what you want but doing so, without looking like a bully. As such, political correctness is most accurately viewed as a style of semantics that can be manipulated and used with the intent of achieving the political agenda of a person or group. Moreover, we can deduce that being a cultist to politically correct language results from only one of two possible causes.  Either users are trying to influence other people with their own political agenda, or they have been influenced by the political agenda of some person or group.

     Like Newspeak and Doublethink, being politically correct is often, wittingly or not, used by governments as a deep-seeded technique for mind-control. Are there instances in which politically correct language might be used as a tool to further unite a people in freedom or equality? Maybe, and certainly there are cases in which people simply use politically correct language to be harmlessly polite. However, using political correctness as a common language cannot be forced upon people without infringing upon the guaranteed freedom of speech which is supposed to be judiciously protected. The truth of a person’s thoughts, after all, do not change just because he or she feels obligated to sugar-coat the way in which the thought is conveyed.  To clarify, I am not referring to Orwell’s Doublethink here.  Ultimately, being PC, in its best and most harmless form, is lying, and, in its worst form, is a medieval oppression of the mind.

John Cleese with Further Thoughts on Everyday PC:

Click to View – 2 minutes

PragerU: A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Click to View – 6 minutes

Please follow and like us:
error

By Kids for Kids: You Can’t Keep God out of School

By Kids for Kids, Front Page, Religion

The following is an article by Owen B., a second-grade student at Flour Bluff Primary:

Owen

   Has anyone ever told you that everything would be better if God was allowed in school?  I think that’s a funny thing to say since the Holy Spirit lives in my heart, and I go to school every day, which means God is always in school with me.  God is everywhere, so I’m pretty sure that He didn’t forget to go to school.  All I have to do is pray in my head to talk to Him.  I know that He’s there because He tells us we can trust Him.  Maybe more people need to believe in God so that everyone would understand that He is with them everywhere they go, even school.

Please follow and like us:
error