A good American

Who is a good American? That is basically a fairly simple question, but the different political ideologies, cultural and religious and racial and ethnic and economic differences that mark residents who live within these American states distort any simple answer that anyone might give to this question.

There is no doubt about the fact that the American population consists of a very diverse collection of individuals, perhaps more diverse than any other place on earth. And our public media are full of daily reports and discussions regarding the efforts of various political representatives and various social and private agencies to provide what is “good” for their constituents, but there doesn’t seem to be much consensus on what would be “good” for most Americans. And some of our legal representatives and officials can’t seem to decide what laws of our land and statues of our Constitution would be “good” to enforce and other officials and residents are working to change some of these laws and write new ones. So there seems to be a lot of diverse opinions regarding what would be “good” for the residents of these American states and ultimately who is a good American.

What has respect for our laws got to do with whether or not an individual is a “good American”? In light of the diversity of our residents, what has respect for individual differences got to do with who is a good American? What personal qualities or civic virtues make a person “a good American”? Let’s talk about this.

Good news

Are you as tired as I am of all of the bad news that appears everyday in the public media? Acts of violence are immediately reported on national TV channels even as they are being investigated and before all of the necessary facts can be assembled regarding what actually happened. And the causes of such acts are discussed and discussed again by a collection of “experts” who are not aware of all of the facts. And the reports of “eye witnesses” from individuals who are eager to be interviewed and to give their versions of what happened doesn’t often add any clarifying facts to the news.

Citizens and politicians in many countries engage in sometimes heated discussions and sometimes violent protests as they seek to establish their respective wills upon the people. And sometimes their efforts are not in keeping with the established laws of the land. And the powerful “liars” are seldom prosecuted for their untrue statements and fraudulent behavior. And too many “news” merchants continue to publish their “homogenized” versions of what is happening in their lands in accord with what is going to protect and maintain their financial and political benefits. And some of these “merchants” don’t even pretend to believe in the values of “free speech” for their citizens or “objective reporting” for their journalists. And so the media is filled each day with the ongoing stories of civil wars and violent protests and various “movements” of groups of people to something that is “good” in their lives.

So many basic problems in the lives of individuals in many countries of our world are not getting fixed because those who are “in charge” are not wise enough or compassionate enough or courageous enough to make the necessary changes in the living situations of their people.

What “good news” do you have to report today? What “good” benefits of anyone’s actions have your received or witnessed today? What factual evidence can you cite that would indicate that some of the basic problems that individuals in many places in our world are facing every day are being fixed or even have some hope of being fixed very soon? Let’s talk about this.

Happy New Year

I do wish you a happy new year, but I don’t see much evidence on the horizon that the situation that we face here in the United States is going to be much better next year than it is now or than it has been for the past several years. We just saw a shift in “power” in Congress, but the “powers” that operate our government are still way out of “balance”. The value of our currency continues to diminish in national and world markets. Racial and ethnic and religious prejudices trouble our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. There doesn’t seem to be any reasonable way to reduce the level of violence and general disregard for what is lawful and “right” in our society. And the political, economic, cultural, religious, and personal attitudes that we hold are more divisive than they have ever been. We apparently have the “right” to pursue “happiness”, but there doesn’t seem to be any agreement on how to achieve it or really how to define it. And many of the citizens in other nations of the world are facing similar stressful, violent, and divisive situations where they live and seek to be safe and “happy”.

I would be much happier here in the United States if we could just once again all agree on what it means to be a good “American”. Some of my pessimism would be dissipated if we could demonstrate more consistently in our public and personal lives that we understand the values of what is “true” and what is “legal”. And I know that my hope for a happy new year would be increased if the merchants in our land would just reduce their constant efforts to get me to purchase “happiness” by buying more of their “stuff” and the government would stop trying to convince me that I’m going to be safer and more comfortable if I just give them more authority over my public and private life.

Are you really expecting a “happy new year” during the next twelve months? If so, what and who is going to provide it for you? What are you willing to do to provide those who are close to you and somewhat dependent upon you with a “happy new year”? Let’s talk about this.


Justice is provided to any group of people in a nation and its states and communities when duly elected officials of the people pass and enforce laws that are written to protect their lives and property from abuse or confiscation by others. Laws are written by legislators, enforced by police officials, and individuals in incidents of unlawful activity are judged by elected officials and juries from the people in accord with the evidence that defines the incident and the law or laws that are written to be applied to the individuals involved in the incident under consideration by the appropriate judicial court.

There is no doubt that most communities of people in any state or nation include individuals who harbor prejudicial opinions of other individuals, who seek to gain resources for themselves in ways that are not lawfully permitted, and who are prone to express their feelings of anger and frustration against others who they believe have abused them in acts of personal physical violence or verbal abuse. So most individuals live in communities where there is always the possibility of unlawful or disrespectful or unfair activity or speech being expressed against them.

When an individual becomes involved in a situation that he or she feels is unlawful or disrespectful or unfair or abusive, he or she has some opportunity to decide how he or she is going to respond to the person who is abusing him or her. If his or her response is in keeping with the law, the incident can be resolved in a peaceful way. If his or her response is also unlawful or disrespectful, it only complicates the situation and makes a peaceful solution of the abusive problem more unlikely.

Police officers in any community have a special responsibility to enforce the laws that apply to the residents of that community and to personally protect them from physical harm and to protect their property from being confiscated or destroyed by others. In some circumstances they will have to make quick decisions regarding how they are going to legally enforce the laws and bring the situation of abuse or personal loss under control so that its issues can be legally resolved. In some incidents the nature of the present activity of individuals at the site of the disorder or crime may require the application of force by the police officer in order for him or her to bring the situation under control.

Victims of criminal activity may protest against unjust decisions in courts by appealing the judge’s decisions. But criminal activity by victims is no way to protest any injustice. And riots are only expressions of a crowd of people who are out of control and prone to illegal activities of their own. Riots have little chance of implement justice in any situation.

The incident in Ferguson MO on August 9, 2014 in which a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown, a black young man, who, although he was unarmed at the time, his actions and attitude presented a serious physical threat to officer Wilson who was unable to get Mr. Brown to surrender to him by lying prone down on the street. This incident and the subsequent judgment of a Grand Jury that reviewed all of the evidence regarding the incident before ruling that the officer Wilson had not acted in any criminal way in his behavior in the situation has created a wide spread discussion and debate regarding the relationship that often exists between police officers and the residents of the communities in which they serve. Some members of that community and those in other communities feel that police officers are often unfair and overly harsh in the ways that they apprehend and handle individuals who have committed a crime or are possible suspects in a crime, even though police officers have well established laws governing their actions in the completion of their law enforcement responsibilities.

Lawlessness at any level of society that is not enforced for any reason weakens the foundation for justice in every community and state and nation where it is accepted. If individuals anywhere have to apply their own resources for control and safety and protection from personal injury and the loss of personal property through their own efforts, everyone in such places are in danger of being a victim of violence or abusing or disrespectful or thieving activity from others.

There is no simple way to establish justice anywhere. But its foundation has to be respect for the laws by everyone who wants to live in a safe place where every individual can be treated with respect. What do you think forms the foundation for justice in any community or state or nation? What are the most effective strategies that victims of injustices have for correcting the injustices that they have suffered? Let’s talk about this.

Mobile friendly

I just recently went through the challenging process of redesigning my website to make it more mobile friendly and responsive to viewers who use small hand-held devices for their communication processes. I had to redesign the banner element for my site and revise some of the basic codes in my css file and 53 PHP files that coordinate the display of my various pages with the resources that I have written. Of course this was a difficult process for a technical novice like me, but I had some help, and I was able to get it done. I think that the new design is more fluid than it was, yet it is still attractive and simple and easy to navigate. I invite you to check it out at http://www.christianityetc.org.

I’m an old retired writer who is still trying to make good use of my desktop computer with all of its various programs and their tools and a cell phone that I just know how to use as a phone. I have some messages that I’m trying to share with interested viewers, but I don’t claim that they are basically popular. I think that they are important, and I try to make them interesting and easy to read as I write them, but I’m not sure that I have a network of social friends who will promote them for me. So I’m wondering how you viewers and internet surfers use your mobile devices in your communication processes. What communication devices do you use for your serious search for helpful data on the internet? Are some of your devices just used as photo albums or electronic post-it-notes? What makes an article or a note on any “public” communication platform particularly helpful? What does that quality have to do with the technology of the device? Let’s talk about this.


Everyone wants to feel safe and to be safe no matter where he or she lives. They especially want to be safe in their home. They particularly want their spouse and children and other family members to also be and to feel safe where they are. This desire extends to places of work and schools and places of doing personal business and places where them and their children may congregate to play. They would certainly like to be safe and to feel safe where they worship and gather to study their religious books and to pray with their friends. They would like to feel safe while driving on public roads and highways or traveling in various modes of public transportation, including airplanes and cruise ships. They would like to know that the food that they buy at the local market is safe to eat and that the medicine that they get is relatively safe to use. Even individuals who are engaged in dangerous occupations, like those involving military service or police work or fighting fires or rescue operations would like to feel that their training, equipment, and present team members gives them assurance of a reasonable level of safety.

One of the basic responsibilities of any system and level of government anywhere is to provide for the safety of its citizens. They do this through various sets of laws and systems of personnel to manage their enforcement and the establishment of high standards for the purity and safety of all products that are consumed or used by their citizens. And family units that are managed and cared for by mature and responsible adults are and always have been the initial haven of safety for every individual.

But much has been happening recently everywhere throughout the world to make anywhere less than a safe place to be. Groups of people and grown individuals and helpless children are regularly being subjected to violent, illegal, and abusive treatment and risks by other individuals and even their government officials. And one of the most dangerous places to be in the whole world is probably to be in the womb of a woman in the United States. And even natural disasters seem to be on the increase. Commercial media and the various social platforms for the personal sharing of news and activities and experiences make it very obvious that we all are living in a very dangerous world.

Where do you feel safe? What enables you to feel safe where you are and engaged in what you are doing? What more assurances of safety would you like your governments officials to be providing for you and your loved ones? It is good to feel safe and to be safe! Let’s talk about this.


Being passionate about something is good, and no one appreciates a “cold” lover, not even God. But what are you passionate about?

The Olympic athletes were apparently passionate about their sports, because it obviously took them years of rigorous daily practice to enable them to reach a level of proficiency that would at least allow them to compete in a few minutes of intense competition for a metal that would give them world wide recognition for their achievement. A few of them won such metals, but most of them didn’t. And some of the losers were close to the winning levels of achievement, only missing the “award” levels by a few points or even a millimeter of a second on the timing clock.

Whether we realize it or not, all of us our in intense competitive battles for the achievement and preservation of many “awards” or blessings that are available to us in this life. Some of these are economic benefits that we now are beginning to realize are not automatically achievable by routine hard work. Others are political that no longer seem to be as secure as they once were in the world’s drastically changing political environments. Some may be very personal that are now being threatened by the drastic changes that are taking place in the structure of the family and family relationships in cultures around the world. Some of these battles may just be physical due to the challenges of growing older and becoming less and less vibrant in our physical abilities and energy. And some of these battles probably involve “moral” benefits that are achievable through disciplines of what is “right” while avoiding those that are “wrong”, but the distinguishing marks that separate these qualities are no longer as clear as they once were.

Which of these “battles” or contests are you passionate about? What are you passionately seeking to achieve in your present situation in life? Are you really passionate about personal political freedom from governmental controls and illegal oppression? What would you like to do to preserve the stability of families in your situation? What moral principles are really worth struggling to preserve?

Let’s talk about this. What is the focus of your passion in life? How intense is your effort in the “contests” or “battles”?