Christmas and Other Holidays – A Frank and Open Discussion

I am unapologetically a Christian, I regularly attend church, and I exercise faith through daily scripture reading, prayer, and other works synonymous with being a Christian.  Being a Christian, I embrace freedom, especially freedom of religion; “Let [all people] worship how, where, or what they may.”  I am not smart enough to tell anyone, convince anyone, or try to force anyone to believe anything.  As a point of fact, my articles very specifically encourage you to find your answers, much as I have done, through study, learning, and faith.

Yes, this is a discussion!  I do not understand Christmas in any way, shape, or form; while this also applies to all accepted holidays, Christmas is my focus.  If you understand Christmas better or any holiday mentioned, feel free to teach me so that we both may learn more perfectly.  Christmas, as a child, was only once a time of wonder.  I remember that Christmas; I must have been 6 or 7 years.  I do not remember what I got for Christmas, but I remember how I felt.  I have not felt similarly since, and while I know why, I do not understand how to put the wonder back into Christmas.

Annually, Christmas, New Year, and the rest of the mid-winter holidays are a time for deep depression.  I struggle to feel anything from Halloween to mid-February; think London Fog as a mental condition, and your close to understanding what is happening between my ears annually.  As a child and teen, the holidays were always a time of stress, increased drama, and tons, and tons, of dishes.  The holiday season brought increased torment as parents’ stress (especially) resulted in increased violence (physical and mental).  Thus, I learned not to appreciate the holidays but loath the workload, violence, and abuse and view the holiday season as a time of greater pain and suffering.

Don’t even get me started on how to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.  There are holidays, and choosing to celebrate or not is just as important as how to celebrate and whom to celebrate.  The biggest mistake society makes is trying to force everyone to celebrate the same holiday!

As an adult, mainly due to the depression, I avoid stores between Halloween and mid-February, like the plague!  The music of “Christmas” does not lift, and I find it difficult to hear.  To me, the people during Christmas are more challenging to be around.  I do not understand their choices and changes in attitude, their happiness, nor share in their wonder and excitement.  The pagan beliefs Catholicized into Christmas traditions blow my ever-loving mind!  I do not see Christ in a decorated “Christmas” Tree or other Christmas pageantry.  Simply put, every Christmas Tradition, generally accepted by Christendom, is stolen from mid-winter pagan holidays.  As I have studied the origins and beliefs inherent in Christmas, Easter, Halloween, All Saints Day, etc., I see more and more of the historical imprint of early Catholic Church leaders, and I stand aghast that these beliefs have turned into traditions that bind and hold fast the human mind.

Yet, to not wish someone else, especially another Christian, “Merry Christmas” is to be judged less a Christian.  I do not understand!  I believe in Christ; I believe in and have a knowledge of his reality, birth, life, death, resurrection, and visitation to all the Twelve Tribes of Israel after his resurrection.  I accept Christ as my Savior and advocate before the Father.  But, I do not understand Christmas celebrations or why these celebrations “speak of Christ, rejoice in Christ,” or promote Christian beliefs!  I understand the underpinnings of, and like the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.  I see Christ in this celebration of lights and appreciate those who celebrate this simple holiday simply.  But Hanukkah is not a holiday I can fully enjoy either, not for the lack of trying.

I have the same problem with Passover, not for the lack of trying, but I cannot celebrate this holiday, for I feel something is missing.  Easter, will someone please explain to me the lines of logical congruence between a bunny rabbit laying eggs and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  None of the “traditions” of Easter make a lick of sense to me.  While I feel different at Easter than I do with any other holiday, I do not celebrate this holiday either, even though I respect and honor, follow and try to emulate Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, advocate, and hopefully friend.  While we’re on the topic of incongruent traditions, Santa Claus creeps me out!  The fear of being judged without an advocate or appeals process is anti-Christian, but Santa Claus continues to play a fearful role in Christmas.  Worse, the mysticism prevalent in a belief in Santa Claus fills my mind, not with Christ’s giving of himself, but of Halloween!  Tim Burton’s movie, “Nightmare Before Christmas,” is closer to how I see Santa Claus, put him in Halloween, and leave him there!

Yet, here we are, another Christmas celebration is upon the world, and I do not understand!  I like the lights of Christmas and enjoy them year-round, but they are not symbols of Christ lighting the world; they are just lights to me, with no particular holiday attachment.  I am a foodie, but food is just that, food.  No special holiday attachment; worse, as a diabetic, I have to watch how, when, where, and what I eat.  There is no fun in that, no holiday significance, and frankly, no joy in Mudville.

A friend declared, Christmas is about love.  What is love?  I know from significant study what love is not.  Love is not sex!  Love is not punishment, abuse, torment, and throwing all the dishes out of the cupboard and forcing a young child to wash every dish in the house repeatedly until that dish somehow passes an arbitrary level of cleanliness, with frequent beatings for failure to meet that level of cleanliness!  Love is not inflicting pain, causing tears, and being violent.  It has been easy to identify what love is not.  But defining what love is, what it feels like, and how to share love, I have no clue!

Often, I am referred to as a “Cold-Hearted, mean, bastard,” many times, other adjectives are thrown in to describe me.  I wear a “bar-sinister” proudly; I am a bastard!  I fight this nature of myself every single day; sometimes I win, more often I lose.  Sometimes I have thought, maybe this aspect of my character is why I cannot fathom the meaning of holidays, find wonder, or experience joy as readily as others.  Sometimes I think the method of how I was raised is inherent in being that bastard I despise.  Yet, I am a survivor because of the ways and manners of my childhood upbringing, and I have gratitude for being a survivor.  Meaning somewhere in there is gratitude for how I was raised and being a bastard.  I fully appreciate how paradoxical that thinking is.  Remember, a paradox is where two points that appear contradictory at first glance but in deeper understanding are closer than they are apart.

What does being a bastard have to do with Christmas and celebrating the birth and life of Jesus Christ; thankfully, I can answer that question.  Only in and through Jesus Christ can my nature change.  That single hope is precious to me, remains an impetus in motivating me to change, and powers my striving.  Without the birth of Christ, there could not be a death and resurrection.  Without the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, man could not change his nature, understand and possess freedom, or comprehend the higher laws of giving of self, choosing a different method of living, and rising above the natural man and comprehending why man has to rise above his natural beliefs into a higher understanding.

Yes, I celebrate Jesus Christ!  Make no mistake; I am grateful for my Savior; but, I do not understand Christmas!  I cannot fathom a celebration of Easter as currently celebrated and understood in Christendom.  I long for further light and knowledge to more appropriately commemorate the birth, life, reality, resurrection, and example that is Jesus Christ!  I know that only through the merits, mercy, and justice of Christ can I eventually gain the further light and knowledge I seek.  Please don’t think I do not celebrate when I wish you the happiest of holidays; it is an honest expression of a heartfelt desire for you to celebrate and worship how, where, when, and what you may.  Please understand, though, I am not participating, not because I do not believe, but because I do not understand.

A well-intentioned person told me to “Fake it until you make it.”  I have tried following this advice, and while it worked in other aspects of life, I learned more, and faking it stopped working.  Where holidays are concerned, I cannot “Fake it, hoping to somehow, make it.”  Faking it requires a method of belief with a hope.  I have hope and knowledge; thus, I do not have a belief, or reason to believe.  In possessing knowledge, my belief can take wing with confidence, and in that understanding, I can no longer “fake it.”  As a respecter of religious belief, and as a seeker of light and knowledge, there have been times I have thought how easy it could be to be an atheist; but, in possessing knowledge, I understand I cannot live without the belief and knowledge of a Savior, a Heavenly Father who had the sense to hand man laws, cover his mind with a veil of his past life, and tell man to live by faith.  The atheist cannot understand the value in living by faith, for they choose not to believe, even when presented with evidence.

C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and characters from history. He understood the chasm between choice and the consequences of choosing not to believe and live according to beliefs. Mark Twain is another character, author, and speaker who I deeply admire and appreciate, for many of the same qualities exhibited by C. S. Lewis, are found in Mark Twain.  Thus, we find both an exemplar of the principles discussed and another issue with the holidays.  Knowing what I know regarding the origins of the holidays, the traditions adopted and Christianized, and the chains which bind from traditions, I struggle with celebrating holidays.

As a child, I asked why do we decorate a Christmas Tree?  After removing all the religiosity, the answer was because their parents did it that way.  Why did we feast; remove the religiosity, and we find it’s because everyone else celebrates holidays (peer pressure and traditions) with feasting.  In the movie and play “Fiddler on the Roof,” the primary character sings, discusses, and lives under the iron fist of tyrannical tradition, and I am left with one question, “Why?”  Why do something just because it is tradition?  Jesus Christ brought freedom of conscience; believe how, when, where, and what you may, act and live according to your beliefs, and you are exercising freedom and liberty.  Where does tradition fit into belief and living according to choice, freedom, and agency?

Bringing the conversation back to principles of freedom, choice and showcasing how decisions determine destiny.  Again, I am not casting aspersions, nor trying to convince anyone to do something they are not comfortable with, nor am I denigrating or deriding anyone’s beliefs, traditions, or methods of worship or celebration.  My intent is not to cause a crisis of faith but to understand for myself.  Please, embrace your freedom to choose to worship, and celebrate, how, where, when, and what you may.  In possessing this freedom, allow others to worship and celebrate how, when, where, and what they may.  Enjoy your holiday traditions and celebrations.  But, please do not judge me as less because I do not understand, believe differently, and live according to my beliefs.

Santa Claus coming to town fills me with dread and despair, not hope, wonder, or joy.  A white Christmas is not a dream for me but a symbol of more snow to shovel, even though I LOVE watching the snow fall and playing in the snow.  Christmas trees do not thrill me but represent a ton of work to put up, more work to maintain, and more work to take down.  Food is not a celebration but represents more work, time, effort, and sacrifice, for momentary pleasure.  While I enjoy food, eat food, and talk about recipes to make food, I do not worship at the altar of food or see any connection between food and traditional celebrations.

I totally get it; the Children of Israel fled Egypt the Passover is a sacred remembrance and should be celebrated; but, Christ showed a better way, and through that better way, the bitterness of fleeing is swallowed up in joy.  Why eat bitter herbs and unleavened bread as part of the tradition and celebration?  Joy is knowledge with aspects of painful experience encapsulated in achievement.  Thus, to me, the flight of Israel shows how faith, painful experience, and achievement are possible, and I want to shout and sing for joy.  I have always thought of Passover as a time for glorious celebration.  Strike up a band, sing, shout, and make merry, for we survived the Passover, escaped Egyptian slavery and harsh bondage, and now are free!  The same goes for Hanukkah, the resurrection of Christ, the birth of Christ, and every other holiday.  The holiday, to my understanding, represents, or signifies, a reason to make merry because those who came before achieved something through enormous difficulty, suffered dreadful pains, and achieved a better place.  They have joy, and we share in that joy.

Bringing up the final aspect of the holidays, sharing joy.  How do we share in the joy those who suffered experienced?  This is the crux of holiday celebrations.  How we answer this question determines the traditions we embrace; the decisions and consequences produce a destiny.  Consequences are neither good nor bad, simply natural actions formed from a choice an agent made.  How we choose to place a value on those consequences immediately determines how often we will make the same choice again, leading to determined destiny over time and repetition.  Using this understanding of choices and consequences, we revisit the question, “How do we choose to share joy?”

I do not know how to answer this question!  Worse, I feel this single question forms the crux of all holiday celebrations, and I am flummoxed!  Some have suggested I perform more service to share joy.  Others suggest giving gifts.  Others have offered well-meaning opinions, ideas, and suggestions that I cannot fathom as connected to a holiday—leading to a need to understand why.  Why act differently leading up to a holiday when you act in an opposing manner the rest of the year?  Why not act the same year-round?

Again, there is no judging, no aspersions cast, no denigration of actions and choices here.  I am not your judge!  But, these questions are the questions I struggle with living, understanding, and connecting to holiday celebrations.  If you have answers, please share them with me, help me understand how you share joy, celebrate, and feel.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

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President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Bobblehead DollPlease excuse me; I am branching out a little today.  However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed.  I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return.  We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted.  There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua.  The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.

All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).

Hence why I am branching out a little today.  On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation.  It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency.  President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.Religion Quote 2

What is diligence?

The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task.  Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind.  One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention.  Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.Apathy

I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:

What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction.  Diligence requires observation over time.  Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes.  The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break.  Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.Angry Grizzly Bear

I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news.  If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president.  Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations.  Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president.  Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments.  The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.

What is faithfulness?

Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs!  According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable.  Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Pink Monarch ButterflyLike tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong.  Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole.  Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals.  Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty.  Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers.  Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly.  There is power in being faithful!

Detective 4Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause.  Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress.  Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs.  Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement.  Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words.  By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes?  Why are they followed?

Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available.  More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically.  Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.Life Valued

What are prayers of faith?

A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power.  Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor.  Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come.  Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.

Knowledge Check!I am not here to tell you what to pray for.  I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America.  I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical.  However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us.  Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others?  If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?

I know my answers; how do you choose?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Teaching the President Responsibility – I Never Thought I Would See the Day!

Angry Wet ChickenPresident Biden, you, and your administration disgust me!  I did not vote for you, but I was willing to support you as president back in January and show you respect.  Even though I continue to have reservations regarding the veracity of the 2020 Elections, the transparency of the election counts, and the skullduggery witnessed, I was willing to give you a chance.  Your actions in Afghanistan have sundered my cherub-like demeanor and turned the extended olive branch into a torch for your pyre!

Let me be perfectly clear, the blood of every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, who has served, is serving, or will serve in Afghanistan is on your hands for your ineffective and wholly useless policy in that country!  Worse, the tears and blood of children being abused, murdered, raped, and assaulted are also on your hands.  You allowed a mostly peaceful situation to become an open and festering warzone, again, and it is all your fault!  You cannot blame Congress, you cannot hide behind the media, you cannot shirk accountability behind generals and pentagon officials, you are the Commander in Chief, and it is your sole responsibility to lead the armed forces of these United States.

Sure, we in the service swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution and the officers appointed over us, but the first officer we pledge obedience to is the U.S. President.  You, sir, need to learn responsibility for the men and women you lead.  I plan to teach you and every American who is privileged to read this article the power of the office and the responsibility of the office you hold.  How will I instruct you; through the U.S. Presidents who came before you!Angry Grizzly Bear

The power of Commander in Chief is derived from the U.S. Constitution:

Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that “[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

Mr. President, you need to take two lessons from President General George Washington.

      1. But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg every gentleman may remember it in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.”
      2. In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is, to be honest, and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim were generally adopted, wars would cease, and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks, and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

Do you understand these two fundamental principles of being the Commander in Chief?  Humility is not a weakness but an inner strength to know and do what is right in exercising your command.  You were given the greatest honor possible, to lead men, and women, into battle, and you have pissed that honor away for trinkets not worth a mess of pottage!Plato 2

The second principle of being the Commander in Chief is demanding honesty, first from yourself, then from others.  Is the job too big for you? It’s no shame to admit you are in over your head.  It is no shame to realize you need help.  It is a crime to act like you have the brains and talent, lying to yourself, while the world burns like Rome and Nero fiddles!  Your counselors, administration, and vice president are all crooks, scoundrels, and fools, but you have the responsibility!  This is why honesty is so desperately needed and fundamentally critical.

President Jefferson provides the following principle for the Commander in Chief, and while President General George Washington embodied this principle, President Jefferson said it best:

If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”

Knowledge Check!Are you informed about the consequences of your decisions?  If so, why are you continuing to adhere to wrongheaded decisions that are destroying America, ruining Afghanistan, and allowing China to threaten her neighbors, bully her neighbors, and be the aggressor party in a prelude to war?  Do you not understand that your responsibility for the consequences of your decisions is eternal, and you owe the God of this land, even Jesus Christ, accounting for how you have led during your time in office?  The blood of innocent people is on your hands because you and your advisors have refused to listen, refused to act, and chosen the worst possible action when working to the detriment of everyone on this planet.  You are actively failing as a president; does this not matter to you?

Inherent in the law is the following axiom:

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law.”

You need to understand this principle, for failure to be learned is not an excuse, ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and ignorance of the consequences is not an excuse.  You cannot blame your staff when standing before a judge and jury, nor can you evade responsibility and accountability. Honestly, the responsibility ultimately stops at your desk, the music ends, and you are left holding the bag full of whatever crap landed on your desk.The Duty of Americans

President Jefferson also provides the following axiom for a Commander in Chief, one which you have avoided your entire life, and it is time you were made to should this burden as an adult!

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

What does this mean; allow me to explain using your example.  Your first, Second, and Third attempts at running for president were fraught with verbal gaffes where outright lies, bald-faced untruths, and plagiarized speech were put forth for the public as your ideas and ideals.  Thus making you a liar, a thief, and the worst sort of scoundrel possible, yet, through gerrymandering and a lot of money and your Jello-like spine, you have managed to stay in office long past your maximum level of incompetence.  What sort of moral society have you been promoting and living in?  Do you realize you are responsible for that moral decay you have been broadcasting from your senate office?  Do you know that your morals are now being stamped upon the military, and the military is going to find that your morals do not fit the honor, courage, and commitment needed to fulfill the mission?  The Uniform Code of Military Justice, which you now fall under as Commander in Chief, would find you guilty and in need of severe punishment.  How can a soldier, airmen, Marine, sailor, etc., go before the mast for UCMJ punishment with you as Commander in Chief and be found guilty of morals you exemplify daily?  By the way, this is the same problem your buddy Obama suffered from for eight damnable years when he occupied your chair!Patriotism

Speaking of eternal consequences, and being the Commander in Chief, President Lincoln has some choice words for you to learn.

      1. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”
      2. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
      3. With this honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under GOD, it will sustain you, [or utterly reject you].”

Knowledge Check!As you have been weighed, measured, and found wanting, I will take a moment and explain to you what these three quotes mean for the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Firstly, watch your language.  You have not done very well with this in the past.  Your lies, half-truths, falsehoods, and plagiarized speech is beyond contempt, but the useless speeches you keep giving threatening to put legal and law-abiding citizens in prison for the sole crime of making a living is beyond detestable and shows a definitive lack of character.

Secondly, your words last for eternity.  I remember watching you as a child and thinking, “Putz!” Then cheering when the news broke that you had chucked your campaign for president.  How wonderful the Internet is for bringing back your words for your shame and discomfort, and how I enjoy watching your comments fall from your lips and condemn you for the liar and cheat you are.

Thirdly, those crimes are coming back in spades by trying to evade responsibility yesterday for being a liar and cheat, a thief, and a robber.  But, you have been placed into a position of honor for which you are not comfortable, for which you have not the strength, stamina, and mental fortitude to perform the necessary duties the role commands.  Who is making the decisions in the White House?  Why?

Dont Tread On MeFinally, we come to the absolute crux of the matter.  As Commander in Chief, the honor of commanding men and women in the military comes with a corresponding responsibility. The country loves her military and trusts you to treat them appropriately.  You did not do so in January and got a minor backlash.  You are not doing so in Afghanistan and will catch a much higher backlash as the media watches a repeat of Saigon in Kabul as the Embassy is evacuated.  Your buddy Obama has a dead Ambassador he has never answered for, which (historically) has always been a declaration of war.  What do you have?  An entire country laid to waste, the waste of millions of dollars in materials, millions of lives destroyed, and the wasted efforts of millions of people and multiple presidents.  You have betrayed the American people’s trust, and you will be held accountable, just like your good friend Mayor Lightfoot (with stickyfingers) is being held accountable in Chicago, only many, many magnitudes worse!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used here were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Sacrifice and Selfishness – Understanding Begets Power

Personally, I do not care what you believe for religion, nor do I care about your bedroom choices, your skin color, your culture, heritage, or even your clothing or hairstyle.  What you do is more important.  What I do is more important.  How we form a free-thinking society, responsible people who love freedom and liberty under the “Rule of Law” is more important.  I have been called a bigot, a racist, a sexist, and so much more, primarily by ignorant byzantines who projected their own inadequacies, and I happened to call them out.  I have thick skin and big shoulders; you want to accuse me of stupid stuff; that is your choice; thankfully, you will also enjoy the consequences.

What is Sacrifice?

Webster provides multiple definitions for sacrifice; only those contained below are we considering:

      • An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”
      • A bid made in the belief that it will be less costly to be defeated in the contract than to allow the opponents to make a contract.”
      • Give up (something important or valued) for the sake of other considerations.”

Gary Hamel is quoted as saying, “A noble purpose inspires sacrifice, stimulates innovation, and encourages perseverance.”  Herein lies the importance of understanding sacrifice as a principle of power, a tool for constructing a life, and a mode of understanding the world.  People will always sacrifice for that which they desire; understanding this principle explains many human behaviors and the resulting consequences.

Consider our current (fraudulent) president, Biden.  He has sacrificed dignity, potential, life, and much more to attain in his senility the president’s chair.  I long to ask him if it was worth the sacrifice.  Except, the consequences of the president’s actions have ripped holes in the fabric of America, monumentally increased distrust in government at all levels, and is actively working to ruin America during his remaining days as president.  Hence, we must ask America, was the candidate worth the consequences?

As a principle, sacrifice must be understood as a double-edged sword; it cuts both ways.  Selfishly sacrifice, and you get harmed, selflessly sacrifice, and you gain even as you lose.  Like the double-edged sword, there is no safe spot to stand; you either slide one way or another, and danger lies on the edge of decision making.

What is Selfishness?

Interestingly, selfishness is being selfish, and being selfish is all about “lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with personal profit or pleasure,” according to Webster.  More specifically, selfishness is also self-centeredness and realizes that one is only concerned excessively or exclusively for oneself or one’s own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others.

James Altucher is quoted saying, “Your competition is not other people but the time you kill, the ill-will you create, the knowledge you neglect to learn, the connections you fail to build, the health you sacrifice along your path, your inability to generate ideas, the people around you who don’t support and love your efforts, and whatever god you curse for your bad luck.”  The perfect summation of a life lived as selfish and self-centered.  Thereby presenting a person with some interesting questions, especially for juries deciding guilt or innocence, managers of people in employment, and parents of children.  Do we understand that selfishness is an empty hole that can never be filled?  Do we appreciate that sacrifices made selflessly are many times lost in the selfishness of others?  Will we choose to learn, connect, build, generate, and support?

Speaker Pelosi (D) is the most selfish person it has been my displeasure to know.  Blind to other people’s struggles, refusing to represent her district properly, continuously thinking she is the keystone in American Government and an institution in her own mind who refuses to act in any manner worthy of anything higher than utter contempt.  Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi (D) is not alone in her attitude, actions, or refusal to represent those who elected them to a seat of American power.  If Speaker Pelosi had an ounce of humanity, she would have retired many years ago; instead, she bitterly clings to power and projects her insecurities and ineptitude onto others in her vile and detestable manner and methods.

Why is this topic important?

Sacrifice and selfishness are two sides of the same coin.  The extremes of a decision matrix line, where the person must choose, and cannot long remain neutral.  However, like all things, selfishness and sacrifice can be taken to the extremes, and in the extreme’s bondage, chaos, and trouble lie.  Do we, the lovers of liberty, understand that the extremes of anything bring problems, sickness, death, and disease?

Consider for a moment a friend of mine.  He sacrificed a lot of credit card debt to fund projects that were supposed to help other people.  But in the end, he had to file bankruptcy, he lost his house, he lost his spouse, and too many people thought his “sacrifice” was for selfish ends and hated him for his “gifts,” all while being “grateful for the gift” to his face.  Can a selfish act be a sacrifice worthy of the name; no!  We see this pattern explained in the New Testament when Jesus Christ is teaching the sermon on the mount; he talks about a man who fasts to be seen of men and has his reward not from God, but man.  He speaks of a man who prays on street corners to be seen of men and has his reward.  What is a sacrifice-minded person to do; enter into your closet and petition God in secret, and He who sees in secret rewards openly.

The connection between sacrifice and selfishness is clear, but also the extremes of action in selfishness and sacrifice are also apparent.  We have examples all around us of selfishness taken to extremes and the danger that lies on that path.  We also have examples around us of those who sacrifice selfishly and struggle.  The answer is to balance sacrifice and err on the side of selfless sacrifice; essentially, not running faster than we have strength.

Selfless sacrifice is not a new principle, tool, mode of living, or human capability, but selfless sacrifice requires discernment in making decisions.  Selfless sacrifice requires education, knowledge, and experience and includes failure!  Selfless sacrifice does not have a media cheering section but does come with genuine gratitude by those who know, and the reward is always greater than the sacrifice, law of the harvest.  Selfless sacrifice includes action, trust, hope, faith, and joy.  Paradoxically speaking, one would not involve joy in the activities of sacrifice.  Still, selfless sacrifice does include feelings of joy, hope and can be considered an extension of a person’s commitment to charitably living with others.

Best of all, selfless sacrifice is not a “religious” anything!  I know many great, and good people from all walks of life, and every religious flavor possible, and of them can be said, “They walk as an example of charity, hope, and faith embodied in human frailty.”  Hence, to all the irreligious and atheistic people, you can walk in like manner and have honor without affecting your choice of religiousness.  Selfless sacrifice contains the power to connect with other people, animals, and even plants in a more profound, more full manner than currently enjoyed.

I offer these thoughts for your consideration, hoping that by choosing differently, we can create a truly better world and not just a surface polish.  We, the humans on this planet, can live differently, without ruining our economies, without destroying each other, and without sacrificing freedom and liberty for the chains of government, and bondage to politically powered people.  All I ask is that you think about these principles and take action.  Thank you!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Revisiting Unity – A Further Discussion

LiberationRegardless of your personal beliefs, religious flavor, or political party, America and most Democratic Societies worldwide face a problem.  The problem is summed in a single word, unity.  Except, and unfortunately, unity has been hijacked to mean all sorts of things, plasticized into describing what it is not, and abused until the term unity itself is becoming repugnant.  Since the inauguration of the fraudulent president, the term unity has been used and abused until most people I know are ready to scream every time unity is mentioned.

Life ValuedAccording to Webster: Unity – is “the state of being united or joined as a whole; the state of forming a complete and pleasing whole; forming a complex whole.”  Aristotle provided an excellent discussion on three unities when describing a dramatic representation for a stage, theater, or book.  However, I find these three unities powerful as reminders of living unity.  The three unities are:

Unity of time:

Unity of time, for me, is all about understanding that I am an eternal being experiencing a temporal existence.  Hence, I have a purpose for living, I have an obligation to respect the time provided to me, and I owe a debt for that time to a power greater than myself, for having given me that time.  Unity of time also refers, my mind, to the fact that I live each day minute-to-minute and day-to-day.  Hence, procrastination being an enemy of the unity of time is a challenge to be overcome.  Unity of time also refers to what is occurring right now in the world today, where leaders are wasting time as a precious resource to deter taking action.

Religious ThoughtConsider how angry the population was in the Summer of 2020, where the politicians refused to honor, uphold, and sustain the laws of the land for political profit.  In this example, we can see how time was wasted, as a tool to create divisions, separate populations, and elect a fraudulent president.  When this is understood, the same principles can be overlaid on today’s news, and similar conclusions are drawn.  Unity of time is being abused for personal and political gain, and too often the time wasted, was ours, not theirs!

Unity of Place:

America is a Republic, not a democracy, so what I discuss in the unity of place is geared explicitly towards The United States of America but can be applied to any democratic society with a little tweaking for local circumstances.  The founding fathers disagreed, vociferously and violently, on many topics.  The founding fathers also agreed on many issues.  Between the two extremes of belief, a consensus was formed.  The foundation for America was laid down and written into the founding legal documents, the US Bill of Rights, and the US Constitution, among others.  Hence, disagreement is not a bad thing, and disagreement is simply the launch point to finding consensus under US Constitutional Law.

President AdamsThe founding fathers were Judaeo-Christian in their knowledge and understanding, and one of the most compelling voices for the unity of place is Jesus Christ, who is recorded in Matthew 5:43-44, as saying:

Ye have heard that is hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But, I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”

Jesus Christ added a second action to the unity of place, from Luke 20:25:

“… Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.”

Unity of place is honoring and obeying the laws of the land, which in America means the US Constitution.  Loving our enemies does not mean laying down and losing our liberties in the name of love and peace.  It means unifying under the laws of the land, using the laws of the land to peacefully exist with those who choose to be our enemy, and finding consensus without violence, theft, property destruction, and creating enmity over an issue that is not eternally significant.

Religion Quote 2Honor and respect for civil authority, even when we are petitioning for redress from government abuse, is the first duty we owe to each other in American Society.  Every person refusing civil authority, disturbing the peace, interrupting commerce, or restricting the free flow of ideas is acting in a manner that is both objectionable and illegal under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.  President Abraham Lincoln said, “There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.”  Unity of place is living the law, peacefully petitioning for redress when needed, and respecting civil authority.

Unity of Action:

Image result for image, lady justiceReverend Theresa A. Dear is affiliated with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and wrote, “America’s Tipping Point: 7 Ways to Dismantle Racism,” stating: “… racism thrives on hatred, oppression, collusion, passivity, indifference, and silence.”  Notice something remarkable, while one person may possess hatred, the remaining food feeding racism requires more than two people acting together.  Hence, unity of action is represented by a double-edged sword.  Unity of action can build and destroy in the same stroke of the arm.  Unity of action requires many people acting in concert, swinging in the same motion, working together to bring about the desired end-goal.

Any worthy goal will require more than one or two people acting in concert to establish and create the desired goal.  Hence, unity of action is a call, not for words, platitudes, and ambiguity, but explicit, concise, and applied action!  Unity of action takes all the elements of the unity of time and the unity of place, and puts them to work towards the desired vision.  However, the desired vision could be for good or ill, based upon those doing the work.  This is where America and the fraudulent president are currently residing when he calls for “unity.”  The calls for unity do not include a purpose, a reason, logic, or even an intentional statement, thus abusing and plasticizing the calls for unity!

Where do we go from here?

Scared Eyes!Would you believe me if I said, “I do not know?”  Not knowing the intention behind the calls for unity means the three unities cannot work together, be understood, or even be applied.  We have a complex country needing the three unities.  Except, the person calling for unity is confused and derelict, leaving each person with some modicum of power to enact calumny, abuse the political opponent, and wreak havoc among the citizenry.  We can discern the damage being made, we can observe and witness the harm, but to counteract and empower a population using the three unities is impossible.

What we CAN do!

Because I am an American (A(h)-ME-I-CAN), I am not willing to sit still and merely observe the destruction of America.  I refuse to allow the US Constitution to die on my watch and deprive my posterity of the heritage of faith, courage, and liberty I was blessed with upon birth.  Using the three unities, we can choose how, when, and where we swing the sword of the unity of action.  We can study, learn, teach, and collect supporters who understand the tools we have, and desire to participate.  We can encourage others to investigate the problems and issues we see.  We can act locally to improve the results on State and National levels of government.  We can become more unified in purpose, knowing the three unities and using them to improve ourselves.

LookNever forget, the greatest enemy to any tyrant is the population being abused, and the first tool that the abused population needs to fight back is literacy.  Literacy breeds freedom and liberty.  This cannot be stressed enough; let’s unify around local action through self-education and improved literacy.  Then we will see the tyrants run like cockroaches in a kitchen when the lights come on.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

A Contradiction – ‘Or, An Exercise in Restoration.’

Shifting the business paradigm is comparable to shifting the December-placed holiday of Christmas to its rightful place in April.  The enlightenment is a bit distorted at first because of tradition, familial activities, and misguided Christian beliefs.  The enlightenment of shifting the business paradigm is a bit distorted at first because of similar reasons of tradition, company decisions and procedures, Federal and State Government intervention, the de-humanization of business organizations, and misguided employer/employee beliefs.

The history of Christmas is a complex accumulation of events over time originally precipitated by early religious leaders to direct the energies of early Christians away from holidays previously celebrated, specifically, the Roman Holiday of Saturnalia and the Scandinavian holiday, Yuletide.  Thus, a new holiday was created.  The history of business is a complex accumulation of events over time originally precipitated by financial leaders to direct individual craftsmen into organized activities for power with government and other business organizations.  Thus, modern business organizations were created.  Just as the symbols of Christmas stem from the holidays mentioned and were given an acceptable ‘Christ-like’ connection, so did business practices stem from corrupt political practices and were given an acceptable name of democratic enterprise.

Just as Christmas has become a secular as well as Christian potpourri of love, family, religion, greed, frustration, envy, strife, even violence, and other desirable and undesirable characteristics, business practices have evolved into similar characteristics.  Just as craftsmen worked initially because of their love of family, to provide for them in adequate provision, and for their love for their craft, business organizations have morphed into a desire for gain and greed and control.  While de-humanizing, this morph is not bad, simply misguided and easily corrected by returning the ‘Right to Control’ back to the individual employee.

Through the charitable feelings of a person’s heart to “Give good gifts,” the current celebration of Christmas often loses the main component of the professed holiday, Christ.  Well-intentioned people have vainly fought for the rights of the worker with the energies of their hearts only to result in further captivity, the fundamental flaw in the unrecognized logic being not ‘rights’ but individual freedom.  Rights cannot be given by man to man; rights come from a supreme being to man.  Individual freedom can be given from man to man, from business to man, and from government to man.  Since the mid-1600’s, professors of religion and well-intentioned people have been trying to “Put Christ in Christmas” or “Keep Christ in Christmas.”  The problem is a fundamental flaw in the logic of the holiday; Christ does not belong in Christmas.  By celebrating Christmas in a time and season where Christ does not belong, we perpetuate a myth, a sham, and a lie.  Does this mean we should not celebrate Christ’s birth date?  The answer is unequivocally NO!  Labor unions are a lot like Christmas celebrations.  Should we abolish labor unions?  The answer is NO!  Should we condone the violence unleashed when unions are angry, the constant theft of resources, the preparations for something good which ends with legal battles?  NO!  Mixed logic, moral decay, and those who preach ‘Power to the worker,’ and steal that power for personal gain are enemies of individual freedom.

I am not proposing the elimination of Christmas but rather for placing it where it belongs in the month of April when Christ was born, just as I am not proposing the elimination of correct and right business practices but placing it where it belongs in the negotiable hands of free individuals to negotiate a win-win scenario where work is concerned. Moving Christmas does not destroy Christmas, but places the celebration into its proper place and leaves December open for a different holiday.  Mainly, we must choose to celebrate Santa Claus or Jesus Christ.  These are not one and the same; these two people are not and cannot exist in the same holiday without creating confusion, perpetuating lies and deceit.  Power for personal gain and individual freedom cannot exist at the same time without creating captivity, confusion, and the perpetuation of lies and deceit.  An old mentor constantly quoted this axiom, “If the solution is not ‘Win-Win,’ it is a straight loss.”

While St. Nicholas is reported to have been a person or monk who traveled around doing good, he never had a sleigh, reindeer, and magical abilities.  The man celebrated at Christmas as Santa Claus is a myth, and in the same breath as singing ‘Here Comes Santa Claus,’ we want to honor Jesus Christ as the “Reason for the Season.”  The duplicity is a struggle for the conscience and the heart. Just as we inherited and sustained this struggle from the captivity of our fathers, we inherited and sustain a mode of earning a living from our fathers that tries our conscience, our hearts, and wallets.  Consider the problems with being a customer, the dehumanizing influence of the business organization, labor unions, etc.  Many of the problems in business stem from inherited tradition that did not work in times past and continue to not work now, but remain supported simply due to fear of change or because, “That’s now how it is done.”  Holiday celebration and employment conditions are linked in a myopic cycle that is anathema to anything different.  Dauten (2003) talks about this problem extensively and his suggestion of “Killing the status Quo” is excellent.

Tolkien offers wisdom very applicable to our modern world.  “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” Along with, “It’s no bad thing to celebrate a simple Life.”  Ask yourself some questions such as “Do I honor a “Simple Life?”  “Has my holiday celebrations become more about outdoing last year’s celebrations and gift giving for personal achievement?”  “What is the aim of my holidays?”  “Why am I celebrating, what am I celebrating, and/or do I enjoy celebrating?”  If you do not like these answers, change.  Shift the paradigm where holidays are concerned.  The same argument holds for working, ask, “Do I enjoy what I do?”  If yes, “Do I enjoy those I work for?”  If the answer remains yes, consider job security, personal/professional growth, and long-term prospects.  Yet, if at anytime the answer is no, shift the paradigm, consider becoming an independent contractor selling your knowledge and experience.

Just as the Roman calendar and Jewish calendar place the actual birth of Christ in April, the same calendars place the death of Christ in April.  The bible records Christ’s celebrating the Passover before His death.  The Passover was also recorded as occurring during His birth. We can certainly celebrate Christ on His actual birthday, celebrate His death and resurrection more circumspectly, and change how we worship the Savior of the world.  Just as these facts substantiate the birth of Christ, facts of business corruption and coercion substantiate the plight of the individual worker as a craftsman.  We can change that just as we can change when we celebrate the birth of Christ.

With the bustle of Christmas 2012 in the rear-view mirror, with 2013 fast approaching and before the “bills of Christmas” come due, consider the holiday paradigm.  Ponder the feelings of joy, life renewal, and hope that fills the breast in the early days of April.  With the bustle of day-to-day stress, tax seasons approaching, and bills for overextending finances, consider shifting the business paradigm.  Ponder the freedom of negotiating your business life and regaining the control that has been relinquished.

References

Dauten, D. (2003). The laughing warriors: How to enjoy killing the status quo. Richmond, CA: Lumina Media.

© 2012 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved