Pornography

Pornography is not a display of people making love, because love is not made through the physical stimulation of one’s genitals. Love is a shared experience between people whose spirits are bound together by ongoing commitments for caring, support, encouragement, kindness, selfless sacrifices and sharing of resources that extent beyond momentary moods of pleasure and needs.

The fascination with pornography that is evident in our society is great evidence of the seductive power of this form of communication. So thousands of adult men and women and youth and even children as they pass into the stage of their lives when they become aware of their sexuality are deceived into thinking that love is “made” by physical sexual relations.

And this deception has caused many individuals to ruin their lives with the ongoing pursuit of sexual pleasures, broken and unsatisfying relationships, and even some physical diseases and suffering. What a tragedy! And our society is even promoting this deception in the content of many courses in sex education that are offered in various schools and classes for the teaching of humanistic doctrines. And some of these courses and classes are being given to very young children.

Yet we seem to be very concerned about the sexual abuse of children and the rape of young girls and women, and cases of such behavior by adults are severely pursued and criminally prosecuted while our society continues to fill our channels of communication with “soft porn”, easy access to “hard porn” on the Internet, and deceptive courses in sexuality in our schools. These practices make no sense, and the sexual crimes that are being committed against children and men and women will only become more numerous and severe because of the widespread availability of pornography in our society.

Censoring Pornography?

Censorship of publications is not a “popular” solution to this problem, because of the importance of a right to “free” speech in our society. So only a few “filters” or rules are put into place to protect individuals from displays of pictures or the expressions of terms that are sexually too specific for release to the general public. But even some of these “rules” are not consistently enforced everywhere.

Expressions of sincere committed love can be shared in acts of physical sexual intercourse between a married man and his wife, but the value of such sharing may be more clearly displayed by their sharing of tender hugs and gentle caresses when the physical activity of sexual intercourse is no longer possible for them.

What we should do about pornography

I think that we need a very specific effort to counteract this deceptive display of pornography in our society by more courses and training in the morality of human sexuality and the enforcement of reasonable laws against the spread of this “poison” among our people, adults and youth and children. What do you think? What should be done about this problem in our society? Let’s talk about this.

Being held accountable

Everyone everywhere is being held accountable to some standards of behavior by someone else.

It is an absolute necessity for being in any family or other social group, learning in any system of education or training, being effective in any enterprise, and being safe in any community and nation. Some of the necessary standards are imposed by others through laws or specific rules for conduct, test scores in academic procedures, achievements in job or athletic or artistic performances, or the preservation of peace and safety in community and national living situations.

Yet some people, maybe too many of us, avoid being held accountable to others for how we behave or we only want to have to live and behave in accord with our self-imposed standards. I think that being selfish is a natural human tendency, and most human beings seek to avoid being controlled by others as much as possible. So there are some personal tendencies in all of us to do what “feels good at the moment”, to eat what “tastes good”, to think what “justifies myself”, and to find as many good ways as possible to avoid being criticized or judged by others. But such freedom from standards of accountability is a dangerous way to live, because there are some very powerful forces of desires and actions that are constantly seeking to direct us into ways of living that are not very good but they are even ultimately destructive.

While many of the standards for accountable personal and social and professional behavior and achievement are well known and very specific, such as obeying traffic and civil laws, others may not always be as easily known or their importance personally acknowledged. For example Joe Paterno, who was just fired from his position as head coach of the Penn State football team after 61 years of faithful and notable service, learned the hard way that there are some very important standards for being accountable in one’s job that are “higher” than just abiding by the law. As he himself admitted, “I should have done more” to stop the ongoing practice of child sexual abuses that Jerry Sandusky, one of his assistant coaches, has been charged with doing. And most of us recognize that the standards for “safe” driving are more important than the posted speed limits when one is driving on snow packed or icy highways. And some of us may recognize that being “politically correct” may not be a high enough standard for our statements and behavior than it is to be honest and compassionate.

While some of the standards by which we are being held accountable are imposed by our parents, teachers, bosses or coaches, police officers, and legislative representatives, some of these standards can only be self-imposed or implemented with us by those friends or guides that we select to help us to be accountable to high and good standards for our behavior. Such friends help many individuals to overcome personal addictions to such substances as narcotics and alcohol by their daily examinations and warnings. And some individuals get a lot of daily guidance and help in this matter of being held accountable from God and his Spirit and the Bible as they consider the wisdom of these resources in their lives.

Being held accountable is a good benefit…

…as an individual seeks to learn how to live in such a world as ours where there are so many different options for one’s behavior and thoughts. Who helps you to be accountable in your daily life? What standards work best for you as you are being held accountable in your daily choices? What is the importance of being held accountable for you? Let’s talk about this.

Discernment

Before we get to discernment itself, the media recently helped us to note the lives of two different individuals who made a difference in what many of us do and think each day. These were the lives of Steven Jobs and Andy Rooney who both recently died. Steve Jobs was the co-founder and creative entrepreneur of Apple Inc and the genius that produced the iPad. Andy Rooney was a writer in several different formats and a very interesting and popular commentator on 60 Minutes for many years. Both of them reportedly made significant contributions to the procedures and content for some of the communication that we exchange with each other from day to day. There shouldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind that easy to use hand-held tools for communication and thoughtful commentary are important factors in all of the messages that are being exchanged between individuals today.

Discernment under bombardment

Everyday our national media for news and other platforms for various personal and social messages continue to bombard us with thousands of messages, reports, opinions, advertizements, appeals, and warnings about various things, issues, events, and projections that can have serious effects on us in our daily lives. I don’t know about you, but I often find it very difficult to discern from these messages what is a reasonable conclusion that I might draw regarding the possible meaning of such messages and what I should do in response to them in my life. And this process of discernment is further complicated by the questions as to the accuracy of the facts behind some of these messages and their basic truthfulness.

Right now our media and much of our attention is being drawn to the next national election for our President and members of Congress. So we are bombarded with national debates between Republican candidates for President and intense state and local discussions regarding various legislative issues and economic problems and over many of these messages and discussions, broadcasts and public demonstrations are the “filters” regarding what is the “truth” in these messages, what are the facts, who has the “right” solution to many of our common problems, and what can we ordinary citizens do about these matters of concern and interest. And some political careers and some personal careers and reputations are being seriously affected by these messages, and we are each being challenged to be very thoughtful in our discernment of these matters and what we decide to do about them.

Political Discernment

In our current political and social situations what are you doing to make reasonable sense of all of these messages with which we are bombarded everyday? What “filters” of discernment do you find to be most effective and helpful in your efforts to understand and to respond to these various messages? We are facing a year of intense debates and ongoing discussions regarding these messages and concerns. Let’s talk about this matter and try to develop some practical insights into our personal and collective responses to these messages. What is your take on discernment? Please submit your comments to this post.

Bullying

The bullying behavior of some kids in some schools in some communities of our country has become a major issue of concern for many school and community leaders. Many school officials, teachers, parents, and other groups of people are discussing possible ways of dealing with this problem, particularly what should be done to the individual kids who persist in acting in violent and non-respective ways against other kids in their schools or even outside of their school environments.

Some bullies have been suspended from their schools. In other communities or schools they may be required to go to an “anger management” class or to get some special counseling from a school counselor or social worker. If the behavior is particularly violent and physical or a weapon has been used, the bully may have been charged with some criminal activity.

Violence as a solution to Bullying?

Such bullying behavior is not new. There was a bully present in my eighty grade class over 70 years ago. He often “acted out” whenever the teacher left the room, and he was sometimes pretty aggressive in his behavior with others on the playground. But he didn’t bother me after I once beat him in a wrestling match during one of our recess sessions. I lost track of him after we went on to different high schools, so I don’t know if he ever got some helpful guidance with his aggressive tendencies.

But I don’t believe that more violence, even if it subdues the bully, is the solution to this problem. And suspensions from school or even jail sentences will probably not cure the basic bullying tendencies once they have been accepted and put into practice by the growing kid.

I believe that children learn how to relate to other persons primarily in their homes. And these patterns of behavior and relationships are learned and practiced at very early ages as each child adjusts to the roles of his or her parents and siblings in the family group. And then such patterns of behavior and relationships are further practiced and refined as the social circles of the child expand and change as he or she continues to grow. There is no other available arena or “classroom” outside of the family for the early learning of how to relate to others. All other groups can only be arenas for practical reinforcement of such lessons or “therapy” to deal with their failures.

Surprised about bullying?

School officials and community leaders and even parents shouldn’t be surprised to see this growing problem of bullying among children when so much has been done to destroy or to hamper the civil and moral authority of parents over their children in their homes or to remove such authority from them completely, as for example in regard to sex education and the rights of pregnant children to have an abortion without the need for parental consent.

What needs to be happening in the homes of our nation to stop this trend of bullying behavior by so many of our children and youth? What good standards for social behavior and relationships need to be reintroduced and reinforced in our homes in order to begin to deal with the basic causes of this problem in our schools and communities? What should school and community officials be doing to help parents to correct the bullying behavior and disrespectful attitudes of some of their children? Let’s talk about this.

What is important?

What is important to you?

I assume that you are daily engaged in various personal efforts to accomplish and to gain those things and benefits that you recognize as being important to your style of living in this world. As a young child, you probably didn’t hesitate much to make your wants known to your parents. But as you grew older you probably found it more challenging to get others to pay attention to your requests and to meet your ongoing needs, so the effort to get what is important to you became more personally intense.

As an adult, I understand that you probably have some “chores” or responsibilities that you recognize that you must complete or address on a regular basis that are not on your list of “important” or “favorite” things to be doing each day. But I assume that the way in which you complete these “chores” or approach these responsibilities is in some direct way connected to what you consider to be “important” in your life. The quality and duration of your daily efforts are certainly a good indication of what is important to you.

What is important to others?

Everyone has a personal need to survive each day, so efforts to gain the necessary resources for doing that become very important in one’s daily activities. And it may be a good idea to evaluate from time to time how you are going about that effort, particularly if your efforts are not producing the necessary benefits. But once these needs are regularly met, then a different level of needs for personal comforts and pleasures become “important”.

It would be great if the circumstances that seem to affect many of our daily activities would just stabilize, but they often seem to be somewhat unstable and rapidly changing. So we are constantly being forced to adjust to these changing circumstances as we seek to accomplish and to gain what has ongoing “important” benefits and value for us in our daily lives.

So what is important to you in your daily life? What quality of living are you really seeking to achieve each day? What is important to others? Let’s talk about this.

Right to work

There is no such benefit as a right to work

There is no one anywhere in the world, in any system of government, who has to pay you to go to work for him or her. There are individuals everywhere who need workers to help them to operate their businesses or to provide the services that they seek to provide, but they only hire workers to do so when they can reasonably expect to maintain a margin of profit over their costs, including that for labor, in their enterprise. And there is no one with any amount of experience, training, or documented credentials, including a union card, who can tell any entrepreneur or CEO or board or government agent that “you have to hire me”. Some individuals have discovered that even being part of a “family” that operates a “family-business” doesn’t guarantee them a job in the business when they are ready to go to “work”.

Unless someone is willing and able to give you what you need to survive from day to day in this world, you will be expect to get it yourself. The way that you must do that is to become active in the commercial marketplace by going to work, but the process for doing that is not a right that you can claim just because you have the need to work and you are personally ready to do so.

Many of the employment and economic problems that many Americans and other young adults are encountering in the world today are caused by their failure to recognize that no one owes them a job. So many individuals, business executives, politicians, economic advisers, and parents are struggling with the problems of unemployment and poverty for millions of people in America as well as other places in the world.

The right to work & laws

I don’t think that any legislative body anywhere can pass enough clearly stated fair rules for the operation of private and public businesses and services that will give everyone the right to work and solve these employment and economic problems that millions of people are facing. I think that the best that “we” (us citizens and politicians and educators and entrepreneurs) can do is to help everyone in the workforce, and those who are getting ready to enter it, understand that they personally must do the best that they can to prepare themselves to be a working contributing member of the society in which they live without expecting the process to be easy, quick, or secured by a lot of guarantees regarding its necessary detailed steps.

What do you think about this matter? What can be done to help unemployed individuals to secure work in a work environment when there is no right to work and no guarantees? Let’s talk about this.

Whom do you trust?

Whom do you trust today?

Unless you are able to provide all that you need yourself, you have to trust someone or several someones to help you to get the necessary resources to meet your needs. Initially in your life, you are probably dependent upon your parents to provide you with what you need, so you basically trust them. But then you begin to learn that there are other individuals, like grandparents, who can supply you with what you need or want. And as you grow physically and socially you begin to expand and to revise your list of individuals whom you are willing to trust enough to expect them to care enough about you to provide you with some resources to meet your needs. These individuals may be “friends”, “siblings”, your “spouse”, a “neighbor”, your “employer”, or some “professional” person who provides you with an important service like health care or financial advice.

Our society is changing very drastically and very quickly, so it is no longer easy to discern whom to trust. Advisors or other “professionals” or “employers” may have let you down or in someway seriously harmed the level of trust that you had in them, so you are somewhat nervous in regard to your ability to get the necessary resources that they provided for you. You may be out of a job after years of faithful service and even some special costly education and training, so your personal financial resources are in serious danger of being depleted. And too many government officials and representatives don’t seem to have any effective or even reasonable solutions to the problems that you face in your efforts to meet some of your basic needs in life.

Whom do you trust in politics?

Millions of people will be voting in the next general election with specific choices that they hope will provide some beneficial changes in the personal struggles that they face in their daily lives to meet some of their basic needs. They will be making specific choices regarding whom they trust in government to help them to meet these needs. But government officials may not have the authority or the resources to make the necessary changes that will provide the resources for millions of needy nervous Americans.

This issue of trust is a very practical and serious daily matter for many Americans today. It can affect decisions that will have severe immediate and long-term consequences for the individual decider as well as his or her dependents or others in his or her social circle. Millions of Americans, as well as individuals in other nations of the world, are looking for people whom they can trust to help them to secure some of the basic resources that they need for their daily lives. And many of the potential benefactors are not able to provide sufficient details or evidence of their worth to be trustworthy.

Whom do you trust? In your opinion, what makes a person trustworthy? What are you looking for in your governmental representatives or other potential benefactors that will make them worthy of your trusting vote or confidence? How often do you ask yourself whom do you trust? Let’s talk about this.