I think that it is a good experience to view something that has beauty. If you are fortunate, it may be the view out of your window. Maybe you have to travel some miles to see a landscape that is noted for its picturesque beauty. Maybe you have been impressed by the beauty that has been projected by an artist in a particular piece of art that he or she has created. Maybe you have been especially touched by the beauty of a child’s smiling upturned face or the glint in the eyes of your spouse’s wrinkled face. In any case, I’m sure that in such experiences the beauty that you have recognized is a quality of the visual image that is more than the various details of the visual components of colors, lighting, shapes, textures, and placement of the various elements that make up the view. In a time when our eyes are bombarded with thousands of visual images everyday from our tv screens, billboards, publications, entertaining events and programs, ipods, classrooms, offices, homes, and commutes back and forth, it may be increasingly difficult to see much beauty in our fields of vision today. When was the last time that you saw something that had beauty? What was it? How did you feel as you gazed upon it? What was it that made it beautiful? Let’s talk about this.

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Good jobs

Where did the good jobs go? There is a lot of talk these days from our political representatives, including the President, about creating more jobs and preserving jobs for Americans. They seem to understand that getting Americans back to work will stimulate the American economy. They seem to feel that it will help to give the owners of small businesses some tax credits and other financial benefits so that they will be able to hire more workers and getting more American workers engaged in the businesses of keeping America “green”. But I don’t think that it is the owners of small businesses who have laid off the vast numbers of workers who are unemployed, and I think that the workers that might be used in keeping America “green” will not be enough to put millions of Americans back to work.

I think that the big layoffs have been in the manufacturing and construction segments of American business. Americans are not making as much as they use to make, and many of the making aspects of what American companies produce and market have been outsourced to foreign companies or foreign divisions of American manufacturers.

I don’t think that the big problem of unemployed Americans will be solved until we bring these jobs back to American factories. It is time for Americans to return to making clothes, shoes, toys, appliances, and other commodities and working in the vegetable fields and fruit orchards of our country. It doesn’t make much sense to me for some major business executives to expect Americans to be able to buy their products when they are unwilling to pay them American wages to make them.

“Cheap” clothing and other commodities and tax incentives and credit and bailouts cannot be a good foundation for American businesses and good jobs for Americans.

Americans used to have a lot of pride in the label that said “Made in America”. I think that this should be the basis for good jobs for Americans. What Americans make is what Americans can sell, and what Americans sell is what gives Americans enough profits to engage in the world’s markets, but a good day’s work in a good dependable job is the personal foundation for participation in this process. What do you think? Let’s talk about what is a good job for Americans and where are they going to find one.

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Common good?

Since when has the common good stopped to be a priority for our elected representatives?

Apparently a large number of independent voters in Massachusetts decided to vote for Scott Brown, a Republican, on January 19th because in his campaign for Ted Kennedy’s Democratic seat in the US Senate he offered a political agenda that was more in line with what they recognized as being for the good of more Americans than the agenda and legislative programs that were being pushed and proposed by the major political parties. Many commentators have noted that the citizens of MA as well as a majority of people throughout the country are “angry” with Washington and the direction that President Obama and their representatives seem to be taking us.

It seems to be assumed that legislation, even including that for health care reform, will have to be more in keeping with what is the center of concerns for Americans rather than what is seen to be in keeping with the agendas of either the left or right political positions in our political operations.

I think that this is a sensible strategy for our representatives in the Senate as well as in the House of Representatives to take, but I’m concerned that they may not have a very clear perspective on what is really good for all Americans, what is the common good for all of the citizens that they represent. It has been noted by some commentators that Washington may not really understand “main street” America. What do you think is the common good that our president and our representatives in Congress should be seeking to implement in our daily lives? Let’s talk about this.

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The widespread and growing popularity of twitter reminds me of a noisy flock of birds in my neighbor’s tree on a warm summer evening. There is a lot of noise, but I’m not sure it has any benefits, either to them or to me.

I don’t participate in twitter exchanges

I don’t believe that anyone can share in a meaningful discussion where one’s remarks are limited to 140 characters. I’ve used a lot more than that number just to state my concern regarding this matter. There is a lot of tweeting going on regarding a whole lot of political legislation and various statements and actions of our politicians, but I don’t see much beneficial change taking place from all of this “noisy” talk. Let us talk about what is good in your life. I won’t limit you to 140 characters. Why do you think twitter is flawed as a means of communicating meaningful things with one another? I would like to know what you find that is really good in your life and what makes it good. Let’s talk.

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Happy New Year

According to this common greeting, happy new year, a lot of people are wishing that others will experience some happiness this year, and they are probably also wishing it for themselves as well. But with their greeting they may not understand that happiness will not be experienced or received unless it comes from the right source. Jesus had some very specific things to say about being “blessed” with happiness to a crowd of people who were following him. He said that those who “are the poor in spirit”, “mourn”, “are meek”, “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, “are merciful”, “are pure in heart”, “are peacemakers”, and who are “persecuted because of righteousness” are the individuals who will be “blessed” or made happy by God. This teaching is found in chapter 5 verses 3-11 of the book of Matthew in the New Testament.

Happy New Year – what will it take?

No one should expect to be happy if he or she is planting and cultivating the wrong “seed”, living in the pursuit of things that are really not good. What is it that will make you “happy” this year? What makes for a Happy New Year? Let’s talk about this.

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Going home

Many people will be going home for Christmas to celebrate the holiday with their parents and grandparents and other relatives. The necessary trips are part of the experience, but they can be filled with problems if there is bad weather on the way. Nevertheless “home” offers everyone a lot of special memories and joys as the family gathers for the celebration, and these memories and joys can be good. But what good experience can parents and their children have when even their home has been foreclosed and they are forced to seek shelter away from home or they can’t go home?

Several years ago my father was in a nursing home where he was being cared for as he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. One day he told his wife, during her regular visit, that he was going home

She tried to correct him by indicating that he could not return to their home because of his condition, but he insisted that he was going home, and then he corrected her by pointed up above, indicating the location of the “home” in the heavens to which he was going. Two weeks later he died and took the trip to his new “home”.

What does going home mean to you?

What good memories do you have of Christmas celebrations at home? What about the trips, were they also good? What makes going home a good experience? Where is your “home” really, and are you ready for the trip? Let’s talk about this.

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One night long ago an “angel” and a “great company of the heavenly host” praised God “in the highest” with an declaration of “Glory” to him and an announcement to some shepherds “on earth” of “peace to men on whom his favor rests”. These shepherds were “keeping watch” over their flocks in a field outside of the town of Bethlehem where Jesus had just been born and was “lying in a manger”. The report of this announcement and event is contained in the second chapter of the book of Luke verses 4-14 in the New Testament (NIV). It has been over 2000 years since this announcement was made, and for centuries these words and the story of this event and the accounts of Jesus’ life have been declared throughout the world, but there is little evidence of peace “on earth”. It would be good to experience some peace, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. What do you think makes for peace among men on earth? Let’s talk about this.

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