Archive | March, 2011

Sugar Pops: The Aversion To Fear

18 Mar

You are probably asking yourself about right now “why does he have a box of Corn Pops leading his story, and where is this crazy fool going now?” “Well,” says the crazy fool, “education can come from the strangest of places, and today it comes from one of America‘s favorite cereals for multi-generations.”  Through clever marketing, purposeful societal design, and just from our own spoiled natures, we have grown to be a society completely adverse to fear. We are soft and clinically delusional. This works well for those who envisioned and worked to mold us this way, but it is a death sentence for your soul and human understanding. Fear is NOT a 4-letter word…ok…well it IS…but not the bad kind. Without a healthy dose of fear in your heart, you are liable to do any number of ridiculously stupid things. Such as allow your paradise of a nation to slip right through your fingers and even cheer while it’s happening. But hey…I’m moving ahead of myself.

Maybe this aversion started with FDR telling us “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Well yes we do Frankie…we have plenty of things to fear, and thank God we do, because if we feared nothing but being afraid, we’d all live pretty short lives. For instance, I’m afraid to jump off a 300 ft. cliff. My mind actually thinks it would feel VERY cool to go soaring through the air like bird, but my fear tells me…”uh dummy…that is going to kill you.” So I don’t do it. Fear keeps me alive. Psychology plays an enormous role in every minute of our lives, and don’t think that the powers at be aren’t in total awareness of this. Madison Avenue has more power in this country than you could possibly dream. They are hired by all segments of society to tell you how to think and live. When to be afraid and when to not be afraid. They have molded our brains into soft gooey mush. We no longer react in a normal manner. Who does this benefit? Not you.

If you do a search on “quotes on fear” you will see hundreds of wise sayings telling you how stupid it is to be afraid of anything. That it’s evil and always wrong. Then you will see one amongst the crowd that contradicts all the others, such as this quote from Michael Ignatieff from O Magazine in 2007: “Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It’s good to be afraid occasionally. Fear is a great teacher.” Michael “gets it.” But we aren’t taught that wisdom and neither are our children. We have been taught to never let fear stand in our way at any cost. That is completely wrong. In most cases, fear is there to protect you. Fear is an emotion, and just as all others, serves it’s purpose in God’s beautiful creation. Are we not supposed to be God-fearing? Yes we are. Why? Because if we do not fear the judgement that God will exact upon us, then we have no reason whatsoever to follow any of his otherwise burdensome rules. Fear will give you eternal life. That’s pretty deep eh?

So why the Corn Pops box up there? For one thing, it’s one of my favorite cereals. I’ve eaten more corn pops than probably any other human on earth. They are quite delicious. Want to know what would make them stop being delicious? If you took the sugar-coating off them. Then they would suck. Badly. Yet, they aren’t called sugar pops, they are called corn pops right? Wrong. When I was a young, growing baby cynic, they were called SUGAR POPS, and had a big strong cowboy on the box to make me want to eat them even more. Sugar and Cowboys? What more could a growing cynic want? But then somebody decided that all sugar is bad all the time. Science created lab sugars that were much better for us, and the word sugar became associated with any number of bad thoughts. Do you really think man can create something better than God? I don’t. Man’s sugar usually is proven to cause cancer, and it tastes like crapola. God’s sugar, when used in moderation, as we should do with all of God’s creations, is a blessing and a joy provided to our lives from a loving father. Still however, Madison Avenue needed to come up with a solution. Cowboys had also become anti-pc, so they needed to go as well. We will NOT change the cereal, because if it doesn’t taste good nobody will buy it. So leave the cereal exactly how it is. Instead we will change the name to CORN POPS and emphasize the healthy notion of corn, and let’s add a fun pirate to the box. He represents breaking rules. Stealing from other’s. Killing and raping of innocents. Cowboys are bad. Cowboys represent hard work, honor, courage and dignity. Let’s go with the pirate. It’s little mind games like that we never really acknowledge. For 50 years we are eating the same great cereal, but we don’t notice how we’ve been played.

The original “Corn Pops”

This is but one example of how “fear” is manipulated and used against us. Marketer’s KNOW the power of fear and harness it constantly. However, they tell YOU to never be afraid of anything, unless it suits their interests, and then they prompt you to be scared out of your minds. This tactic is used frequently with big bad Bin Laden. Whenever government wants to strip another freedom from you that gets in their way, they simply trot out bearded Bin Laden and play an audio of him telling you he’s going to kill you. We demand that he must be stopped. Another freedom then is lost. Bin Laden of course remains uncatchable in some cave in the middle of nowhere, but still manages to pop out of his hole when needed, to tell you he’s “gonna get ya.”  It defies any normal logic to believe in this, but we do anyway. Then, when we SHOULD be afraid of something, such as massive nuclear radiation spewing from a Japanese reactor we visually watched blow sky-high, we are told that fear is ridiculous.  The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Uh huh.

The thing about lying to people? Eventually they catch on. It sometimes takes a very long time, but eventually it dawns on them that they have been played for fools. That moment is happening now. An awakening. It might be sudden and world shaking, or it might be a slow gentle rise up, but the awakening is indeed happening. I believe it’s God’s plan and I’m very happy to be here for it.

It would be very wise to re-examine your feelings on fear. What should you truly fear? Who should you fear? When does it make sense to not have fear? Who is it telling me to fear and when not to fear? What are their motives and gains from me following?  Having an aversion to it and wishing it away will simply not work. The “Ostrich” technique is usually fatal. The lion is still going to eat him. It will just be butt-first.

Wakey-wakey dear friends. Get up from your slumber…and get yourself a heaping bowl of Sugar Pops for breakfast, before you get down to the business of re-taking your nation from the vultures who have stolen it from you.

“The Pretender” by the  band the Foo Fighters is a landmark song. It portrays the awakening I’m talking about to the lies we have been fed. The song is about one man standing up against tyranny and not taking it anymore. His false lack of fear shed, born into a new realism that he should be very afraid indeed, but to stand courageous against the seemingly overwhelming odds, only to discover in the end he has a mighty power standing behind him.

“What if I say I’m not like the other’s? What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays? You’re the Pretender. What if I say I will never surrender?”

Powerful. A statement born of fear but not bowing to it, but instead challenging it and attempting to defeat it. God gave us fear to use to our benefit. Harness it and use it, just as it’s been used against you.

Calamity in Japan

13 Mar

 Reuters photo from Sunday March 13th, 2011

I have sat down to comment on the overwhelming situation in Japan several times since Friday. Each time I do, a new twist occurs that changes what I might have written. This is a story that goes beyond comprehension…beyond description…and continues to develop every hour that passes. My heart is truly aching for the people and families in Japan. When the time comes that an overview of the calamity in its entirety can be written, I will do so. For now however, I’d like to share a letter from my former Pastor and friend, Chuck Wilson. Pastor Wilson is about the most decent human being you will ever meet. He’s a man I admire greatly, as well as humbly appreciate for the effect he had on my life. When I am in need of answers…or searching for meaning…when I’m in trouble…or just really need a wise friend…I look towards Pastor Chuck. He’s enjoying life in the mountains of NC now as the senior Pastor of Long’s Chapel UMC in Waynesville, NC, but I receive all of his letters and emails. Today he has written about not only Japan, but all of the tragedies around the globe that keep plaguing humanity, and I thought it worthwhile to share with you.

Thoughts on Faith and Life From Chuck Wilson:

We are reeling from the images we have seen from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. We are overwhelmed by the devastation and the helplessness we all feel to respond. So how do we pray for those who are suffering and for those who have died? It is not easy and anything that we can say seems inadequate. What follows is an ancient way of praying for the people of Japan and those in Christchurch and Libya, Yemen, Ivory Coast and the many other places of unrest in our world. Pray this prayer with me.

Lord our world has been shaken by earthquakes and wars

Lord our lives have been deluged by floods and tsunamis

Our hearts are aching and we are overwhelmed

Lord have mercy

God whose love never lets go, be with all who have died

God whose compassion never ceases comfort all who have suffered loss

God who stands firm as a rock provide security for all whose world has fallen apart

Christ have mercy

Lord hear our cry for mercy when we call to you for help

Lord may we be strong and not give up

May we reach out in love and compassion, finding hope in your abiding presence

Lord have mercy

The following song is from Matt Redman and is a beautiful and meaningful testament in these times of peril for we the children of God. I hope you prayed with Pastor Chuck, and I hope this music brings comfort to you and inspiration to stand up and shine the light of Christ on this world in such desperate need to see it.

 

Apocalpyse Now: Saudi Arabia

10 Mar

THE FOLLOWING IS A HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO BASED ON CURRENT AND POSSIBLE FUTURE EVENTS

March 11th, 2011: “Day of Rage” – Saudi Arabia

Following normal Friday prayers, mosques empty and the streets begin to fill. The much-anticipated “day of rage” in Saudi Arabia has arrived. The Saudi Royal family and their security forces anxiously wait to see the number of citizens who will participate. Saudi law strictly prohibits public protests, be they peaceful or otherwise. Saudi police and riot forces surround each city, armed with lethal and non-lethal weapons. The royal family eagerly hopes the efforts they have made to reach out to their subjects will keep the protest size to a minimum. The royals have offered cash payments to citizens, suggested they may allow women to drive, and they have also made clear that no protests will be tolerated. The moment of truth is here.

March 11th, 2011: New York City

On the previous day of  March 10th, the NYSE tumbled over 200 points after word leaked of Saudi police firing on protestors in preliminary gatherings. Oil traders and speculators placed bets on oil reaching $200 per barrel. The prices of gold and silver and other commodities rose, while other sectors were caught in the sell off.  Markets across the globe are on hairpin alert for the first sign of trouble. The NYSE opens down 100 points based on early reporting from the kingdom of police dispersing tear gas on protestors.

March 11th, 2011: Saudi Arabia

 Protestors gather in all the major cities of Saudi Arabia in numbers larger than the royal family had hoped for. Saudi riot police stand in formation as protestors chant in front of them. Agitators among the crowd begin to throw rocks towards the riot police and set fire to dumpsters. Tear gas canisters are deployed in the areas where agitators are known to be, and anxiety begins to rise among the protestors. Protest organizers and foreign agents of influence place groups in strategic locations in the capital of Riyadh. They begin to gather protestors towards these central locations. All international media is shut down as is internet and cell phone coverage. The Saudi royal family orders the police to “put down” the protests before they become worse. Rubber bullets are fired into the crowds and more tear gas is used. The protestors refuse to budge and barricade themselves with dumpsters and storefront property on the streets.

March 11th, 2011: New York City

By noon, the stock market is down 200 points. Oil is quickly rising, as are gold and silver. Panic can be felt among the traders.

March 11th, 2011: Washington, DC

President Obama receives a call from the Saudi Royal family to inform him that live ammunition will now be deployed. The President calls an emergency meeting of his security advisors. The White House press secretary makes a brief statement declaring that the President is well-informed of all situations and will make a statement concerning Libya shortly. No mention is made of Saudi Arabia.

March 11th, 2011: Bahrain, Home of the United States Navy 7th Fleet

Protestors fill the streets of Bahrain in solidarity with their Shia protestors across the bridge in Saudi Arabia. The naval base is placed on high alert and begins to move critical assets quietly from the region.

March 11th, 2011: Saudi Arabia

Protest size continues to increase. The police deploy non-lethal sound weapons on the largest crowds as well as rubber bullets. The protestors remain defiant. Rumors circulate of injuries and even deaths among the protestors. Agitators stoke the flames of the masses calling for revenge on the “royal donkeys.”  With more frequency, the protestors engage the riot police and the police respond with brutal force. Live fire is now heard in the streets of Riyadh.

March 11th, 2011: New York City

Reporters inside Saudi Arabia manage to get the message out of the brutal crackdown now taking place. At 3:00 pm, the NYSE is down 400 points. Oil continues to rise.

July 11th, 2011: United States of America

The price of gas, when it can be found, is $10 regular unleaded. The NYSE rests currently at 6,000, losing half its value in 4 months. The economy has crashed into severe recession. Honest officials say depression. Civil unrest can be found in every major city of America. Out of control prices, coupled with labor strife have lit the nation on fire. Citizens fight other citizens. Heavy pressure is on President Obama to allow wide open drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and to begin immediate exploration in all known oil fields. The governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Jordan have all fallen. Oil production is allowed to continue, but at much reduced rates as the world is unsure who to deal with and who owns control. Civil unrest in Iran is now at an all-time high, and the regime is using all means possible to squash the revolt. Meanwhile, the Republican Guard has deployed missiles in strategic locations, including Syria and Lebanon, as Israel is on extreme alert. The United States Navy deploys 2 carrier groups in the Gulf to protect what little oil is still moving out. Russia and China refuse any further sanctions on Iran and strongly suggest the US and Israel do not use military force.

August 11th, 2011:  The Middle East

The first missile is launched. World War III has now gone hot.

(SPECIAL NOTE: This is merely a hypothetical scenario, but the danger we currently face can not be understated. In fact, this scenario is most likely too gentle if events in Saudi Arabia spiral out of control as they possibly could. However, many good people are in place doing everything they can to prevent such a drastic scenario. Have hope and always pray for your nation and all of God’s creation)

Mardi Gras

8 Mar

Fat Tuesday is here once again. The drinks will flow…the beads will fly…the shirts will rise…the people will cheer…It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and across the country. The biggest, baddest party of the year.

A funny thing happened when it comes to the meaning BEHIND all the fun…What you say? There is a reason for a gigantic party in the middle of the week in early March? Everybody knows Mardi Gras, but few are left who know why it is the party is happening in the first place. As is the norm in this 21st century, our cultural icons remain in place, but they have been stripped of their soul. One by one the heart and soul gets sucked out, and all that is left is the thin outer shell…the shallowness…and what was once of significance, is rendered just ridiculous and demeaning. There is a mighty and nobel reason behind the “feast” that is Fat Tuesday. Yet, 99.9% of those waking up on Wednesday morning in New Orleans with their head going ding-dong, will have no idea why they just did all that to their bodies.

Let me provide some righteous New Orleans sounds for you while you finish consuming this article.

What is the day after Fat Tuesday? Wednesday naturally, but not just any Wednesday…it’s Ash Wednesday. The start of Lent. Lent? That’s a funny word. Yes Lent, a 40 day period of sacrifice, repentance and reflection leading up to the observation of the day the King of Kings defeated death…Easter Sunday. He is risen. He is risen indeed.

Fat Tuesday is a day of celebration…a day to feast and revel in all of the blessings God has provided. We do this because the next day we begin our fast. A spiritual fast. A cleansing and a renewal. The period is inspired from the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness facing temptation from Satan. We are attempting to emulate his quest. A far cry from it we are, yet the intention is pure and good. Some choose to “give up” certain things of importance to them. I myself am giving up red meat. Woohoo…big deal. But hey…I eat A LOT of red meat. Not only will the cow population breathe a little easier for 40 days, but my body will probably thank me as well. No steaks…no burgers…no ground beef…but still, that is just a tiny symbolic gesture on my part to show the Lord I am acknowledging all that he has done so that we may have eternal life.

Enjoy Fat Tuesday and the upcoming season of Lent. What a tremendous time of deep spiritual satisfaction. God wants you to be joyful and embrace life at it’s fullest…so get out there and do just that…but when Wednesday morning comes, don’t let the party be over. It has only just begun.

Fairytales and Postcards

7 Mar

Proper credit must be given for the title of this blog…and that would go to Rhett Miller of the Old 97’s from their song “Drowning in the Days.”  I’ve been a fan of his writing for many, many years.  The second verse of this particular song is where I have borrowed my blog name from. That entire verse has always just seemed to suit me and is a favorite of mine. So when I started this venture up, I didn’t have to think twice what I wished to name it.  I think it lends itself to a wide open range of material, which is what you get from my work.

My purpose and hope is to entertain, enlighten and inform.  Welcome to Fairytales and Postcards and I hope to have you as a regular visitor.

Laying Your Burdens Down (on the doorstep of society)

6 Mar

“There are risks and costs to action.  But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”  John F. Kennedy

Surely God desires for us to place our worries on him. Surely he wants to console us, guide us and free our hearts and minds. Surely, because it is written and so it be. The problem is…and oh how big of problem it has become…is that way too many of us feel like once we lay those ol’ burdens down, that we are free and clear of any further responsibility. Those burdens are dropped off at the front doorstep of society and we slink away like thieves in reverse.

The spirit of God’s gracious kindness has been taken out of context.  God forgives us. God takes those sins and those mistakes and washes us clean. However, we are not absolved of the ramifications of cleaning up the mess we have created. That is the part the we tend to let slip from our knowledge. Those burdens still have to be dealt with by someone. As a whole, our society has become a stagnant pool of dangerous idleness. “Comfortable inaction” is in play, as John Kennedy warned about. We are consumed up to our slothful eyeballs in comfort. To say we simply just don’t care anymore is to put it gently. In all segments of society, whether it be political, economic, charitable or any other, you will find a tiny group of givers and an overwhelming mass of takers. Whatever issue we may have, we just figure “somebody will take care of it,” and we move on down the line. The buck is not stopping here in America anymore.

Is that you? Are you taking your load of garbage and dumping it in your neighbor’s yard late at night while he is sleeping? Or are you one of the few sliding on those leather work gloves and setting out to see how you can help? America is in real and deep trouble. Our collective burdens need to be atoned. It will require every hand and every heart to restore our original shine and luster. Otherwise, we will rightfully lose what we have carelessly let slide into disrepair. For not every soul is pure and of righteous intent, and they gladly scoop up what we throw away. Like vultures on a rotted carcass, they pick away until nothing remains but the skeleton of a once proud creation. For us as a nation, the vultures are circling above and descending upon us quickly. Will we awaken in time?