Star Wars: The Prequels

I was perusing through some Star Wars fan sites I enjoy (most of the time) and came across another hate filled post about George Lucas’s fourth film in the Star Wars franchise; Episode 1, The Phantom Menace. It’s always been interesting to me how people feel the need to tell the world how much they dislike this particular film. The hatred and actual venom poured out towards Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd for their portrayals of Jar Jar Binks and little Anakin Skywalker are both totally uncalled for and show how much these people really are losers in life. And like my mother taught me, “If you can’t say something good, then don’t say anything at all.”

That 70’s Show
Season 1 Episode 20
A New Hope

I started loving Star Wars back in 1977 when the movie first came out. I was very much like Eric Forman in That 70’s Show when he saw Star Wars for the first time. Mouth agape, heart beat rising and bated breath. Once the movie was over I couldn’t wait to see it again, and again. I’m sure I am somewhere in the neighborhood of having seen the original Star Wars movie of a thousand times or more. And it never gets old to me, and I know it never will. This is why I am so shocked every time I hear people complain about these movies.

The thing about The Phantom Menace was it showed us one of the most hated villains of all time while he is just an innocent little child. We knew (spoiler alert) going in that this kid would turn out to be the father of Luke Skywalker and turn the universe upside down, leaving a wake of destruction unlike anything seen before. I think people were hoping George would show us someone unlikeable, or intrinsically evil from the beginning. I thank God he didn’t. Anakin needs to be sweet, and willing to help, this is one of the things about his character which makes his fall so much greater in later movies.

George Lucas has said in more interviews than I can remember how he made these movies for kids. Why do people get so upset with characters like Jar Jar Binks, R2D2 & C3PO? What is wrong with a little comic relief? You have to remember when he released his movie back in 1977, the movies being shown at that time were gritty, dark and truthfully not a whole lot of fun. He wanted to bring back the types of movies he remembered from his childhood; ones that had adventure, suspense, and a little comedy in them. And I believe with the Star Wars movies he did just that; gave us movies we could enjoy and would stimulate our imaginations.

One of the fondest memories I have with my kids around this time was the Podracer game on our Nintendo, all four of us could race and we would laugh and taunt each other throughout the evenings. “Poodoo!” was one of our favorite phrases. Also my son Micah had a Jar Jar mask he would wear and walk around the house in that Jar Jar lope saying, “Meesa called Jar Jar Binks, whosa are yousa?”

Count Dooku x2 vs Yoda - Battles - Comic Vine

I thank God George made these movies for kids to enjoy, because some of my best bonding times as a parent with my kids was around these movies. One funny little story, when they released Episode 2, Attack of the Clones in 3D, I took all three of my kids to see it. I told my youngest son Noah, “This is going to be so cool, Yoda is going to be 30 feet tall!” What I meant was the screen is three stories tall so it was going to be huge. When we were walking out of the theater, I asked him what he thought about the movie, and he said, “Yoda was the same.” I said, “What buddy?” and his reply was, “Dad, Yoda wasn’t a giant, he was the same size.” It was at this point I realized he had misunderstood what I’d said early and thought George changed Yoda from three feet tall to thirty. Ah the mind of a child, truly wonderful it is.

I wish people everywhere could let go of their fear, and just get along. It’s like Yoda told a teenage Anakin, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” And not to put a political spin on this, but isn’t this what we are seeing now? Fear leading to anger, anger leading to hate and hate leading to suffering? We need to forsake the dark side of the force as a society and follow the light side of the force; putting our own selfish ambitions aside, and as a true jedi look out for the needs of the many.

Well, there’s that, for the Kingdom and the King, shalom.

Holy Two Face Batman!

I’m sure if someone didn’t know me personally, but made decisions about what manner of man I am from my social media postings and blogs, then who I am and who you think I am would be painted with two different brushes. While the truth is, who you see before you in this blog and on all of my social media posts is one and the same guy, obviously if you were to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and we discussed the very same things I write and post about, you would probably think I was not the same man who wrote them. Mainly because of the difference between reading what someone says, and actually listening and having a conversation with that person.

As a matter of fact, this very subject came up over a lunch conversation with my bride and a friend today. People are constantly getting upset with things people post online, and usually what the upset person gets aggravated with isn’t even what the author intended. Without being able to hear the inflection in a person’s voice, or see the intent within their eyes, it is hard to actually understand what they are saying.

It’s like why punctuation is so important when you’re writing something for people to read. For example if I write, “Let’s eat grandma.” versus, “Let’s eat, grandma.” even though I use the very same words, without putting that little comma behind the word eat, it turns my words into a heinous act. Hearing how someone says something is like putting the comma in your sentence; it helps to get your point across.

One thing I’ve seen so much of over the past few months is how many people are giving us all a piece of their minds. And while I am all for talking about what you believe, I have to ask myself is this really worth the effort I am going to put in before I post it? Does this mean I get it right every time? No, absolutely not, but this shouldn’t keep me from sharing my thoughts and ideas. Instead, if I end up posting something I should have taken a little more time seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit about instead of plowing ahead, I need to own it and make it right to anyone I’ve offended.

Now this brings up a whole other thing, in today’s society, we have people who get offended at every little thing out there. And as a fifty-six year old man who gets up each and every day and spends my entire day outside doing things I don’t really want to do in order to feed and provide for my family, I don’t have a lot of patience for anyone who gets their feelings hurt and needs a special room for coloring and petting puppies to help them feel better about themselves. (Too much, too harsh?)

Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” So understand when I write, post or say something, it will always be the same. Now you may not like what I have to say, and you know that’s okay. Nobody ever said life was about getting everyone to agree with you. But one thing you will find out about me is these things I believe, I believe because of what I’ve found in the Scriptures. I have a basis for what I talk about, and I would hope you do as well. Again, this is not to say I’ve never made mistakes before, but I do always own them, as I would hope you do as well.

To wrap this blog up, I hope you understand everything I say will come from the place of letting my yes be yes and my no be no. No wishy-washiness here, no just repeating what other people say without owning it. I’m going to own each and every word or picture I share, you can believe this, and if it turns out I offend you, then don’t hesitate to tell me. Because I can’t make it right if I don’t know I offended you.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

God Favors the Bold

A while back on a Sunday in the year 2020, (the year was posted for posterity and when read in years to come) my Pastor made the following statement, “God favors the bold!” Today in the message he brought to us, he showed a video where several ministers from around the world were quoting him and thanking our church for standing up and doing things to help people during this pandemic. And with the things we’ve seen, it is a true statement that God does indeed favor the bold.

Since the beginning of COVID-19 and the shut downs, I have been unusually quiet with my posting on social media and writing my blogs. Oh, I’ve posted a few things and written a little, but it has all been for the most part pretty tame. Honestly, this is in most part because I have not really seen what, if any changes I could make with my little presence in the cyber world. My quietness is not because of a lack of things to say though, as I have never had trouble sharing my thoughts, even though many people disagree.

As Pastor Paul spoke this morning, I began to question my reasons for staying quiet, and part of the answer if I was to tell the truth (which I always do) was out of fear of alienating people who follow me.

Pastor’s message was based out of the story in the book of Daniel chapter 3; where the three Hebrew children refused to bow down to the King’s golden idol and ended up being thrown into the fiery furnace, only not to die, but bringing great revival to the land. All this happened because they stood up for what they believed in.

Ultimately in my life for the past several months, I have been staying quiet mostly trying not to make any waves, or make anyone mad. This morning I decided to change all of that. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not going to intentionally go out of my way to make anyone mad or upset with me, but I have decided it is time for me, as a Christian man to stand up for those things I believe in.

Pastor Paul made a great comment today when he said, “Stop limiting your compassion to only those who agree with you.” I want anyone who is reading this (all the tens of you -ha!) to understand my compassion for all mankind is full, and regardless of whether or not we agree on everything I do not hate you, nor do I wish anything but goodness for you. This is another reason I have been quiet; fear of hurting someone.

Let’s just agree here and now how we can have differing views and still be civil. I know I will undoubtably upset you with something I say, but know this is not my goal. Truthfully my goal is to get conversations started, and I’m pretty sure if we agree to disagree, but stay compassionate towards one another this is a doable thing.

Here we go, come on Jesus! I am a Christian man, who believes what is written in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Everything I write is going to be based on my belief in the Bible, this is a non-negotiable for me, but feel free to question my beliefs as I will feel free to question yours; all continuing to remain compassionate towards each other.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Problems Are Only Opportunities In Work Clothes

I had a thought this morning on the way to work, and it involved situations where I tend to get aggravated or irritated in life. What occurred to me, was in these times what really causes these flare up of my temperament is me becoming inconvenienced. It rarely is the actual situation I get upset with, but having my life altered to a reality I had not previously considered happening.

To say we humans are creatures of habit is an understatement to be sure. We like to have things the same; day in and day out. We live for the opportunities of being able to enjoy moments and have them play out the way we think they should in our heads. And anything which causes a disruption is looked upon as evil and something to be conquered rather than lived through.

Now to say at 56 I am just now beginning to understand this could be deemed embarrassing, or it could be looked upon as if the remainder of my life is about to become even better than I could ever imagine. You know if I’m going to go one way, why not go the way of positivity instead of negativity, huh?

When something disrupts my preconceived notion of what I think should be happening, what should my response be? I’ll tell you what it usually is, chaos. In any given situation in my past, my self talk might go something like this, “Well great! Now I’ve got to go and do such and so. Why is it ‘they’ can’t do this for themselves? Why am I always called upon to do these stupid tasks?” When in reality, perhaps I should look at it as, “WOW! They really trust me to get the job done.”

Being inconvenienced in life is a given. After all, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But be of good cheer, for I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” John 16:33. We are called to be problem solvers, not problem explainers.

Recently I have begun listening to a complaint once, then looking for a solution from the person bringing the complaint to me. If they’re either unable or unwilling to devise a solution, and instead continue to complain about the situation, I extricate myself from the conversation. After all, if all we ever do is bitch about problems without finding answers for them, what use are we really?

Complaining about things is easy, it’s actually the default setting in humans. Just like any piece of equipment, the default settings are there to get the system up and running, but default settings aren’t written in stone, you can customize them to whatever you need them to be. Just like I can customize my remote control for instance, I can customize my responses to those things which cause the disruptions in my life. And when I change the way I see things, and begin looking for solutions instead of just griping, then this is when my life begins to be fuller and richer, and as in work, I begin to see the benefits of being a problem solver and not just a problem griper.

Let’s get out there today and be the answer to the problems of the world. In finding solutions to other people’s problems, we actually find our lives becoming more fulfilled.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

Wearing A Mask Or Not, It Is Showing Us Who You Are

I will start today’s blog by saying I am not in favor of forcing people to wear face masks in the effort to control the mass hysteria surrounding the covid virus. I’m not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on tv, but I can read, and the surrounding controversy concerning this is too difficult to follow for anyone. I mean, we’re told by authorities masks don’t prevent the passing of this virus, then we’re told they are. There are so many opinions out there, it is almost impossible to keep up with how fast they’re changing. And while I don’t believe the masks work, if I see people wearing them, I don’t confront them about it. Live and let live I say.

Now with this being said, it has been a couple of weeks since the nation’s largest retailer decided to enforce a mask only policy while shopping in their store. This was a decision made by the people in positions of leadership within Walmart, and truthfully, it is their right to make such policies. Heck, if they wanted to, they could put up signs saying they will only cater to people wearing grass skirts and it would be legal. It is after all their business, and while forcing people to wear grass skirts would obviously challenge their bottom line, they could do it and there would be nothing any of us could do but wear grass skirts if we want to shop there.

What is totally out of line however, is the jackasses who feel it is their responsibility to accost the employees by yelling and screaming obscenities at them when they are instructed to put on a mask. These people say their rights are being trampled (and I agree) but it is not the ten dollar an hour employee who made up the rules, they are just the unfortunate souls who have the privilege of catching the flack about it. And I sincerely hope they are being recompensed with hazard pay for it.

Having rights does not mean you get to trample on the rights of others. I’m sure Walmart has made this decision less for the health reasons and more about the chances of lawsuits appearing in their mailboxes. I can see it now, the headlines could read, “Man Sues Walmart For Contracting Covid-19 While Shopping For Cat Food”. Don’t think it could happen? Remember McDonald’s changing the temperature of and the documentation on their cups of coffee because a lady in the drive through spilled her’s and got burned? I still don’t think McDonald’s was at fault, but that is another blog for another time. The bottom line is while you may feel your rights are being trampled on, you can choose to not shop at any stores who have implemented this policy. And you don’t have to yell your choice to the person standing at the door not allowing you to enter.

I have made a personal choice not to wear a mask. I do tend to shop at Walmart, so when the mask policy was implemented, I started shopping at Reasor’s. When they went the way of the mask, I went to Warehouse Market. Who knows where I’ll end up next, perhaps fasting? The way to hurt companies that do things you don’t agree with is to stop supporting them with your cash. I will pay a little bit more for something somewhere else to stay true to what I believe. But I don’t go out of my way to tell the employees what I’m doing, that doesn’t do anything but make me feel good about myself, and show them that I’m really an asshole.

So, wear the mask, don’t wear the mask, the decision is yours. Just as it is your decision whether you act like an asshole or not. But we will know the truth, and do probably just what the Walmart employees are doing and laugh at you for showing us who you really are with your decisions.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom.

Freedom, What’s That?

I’m truly amazed to see the world, in the state it is currently experiencing. People I thought I knew, taking sides against things I believe. Mind you, I’ve never thought for a moment everyone would think the way I do, but right now I’m seeing people who I thought shared the same ideology with me standing on the other side of the issue.

If you would have told me even a year ago we would be seeing mandated face coverings in order to enter a store to buy groceries, I would have said, “Not in America. We’re not a third world dictatorship.” But here we are. The largest chain store in America, Walmart & Sam’s Club posted they would start mandating face masks to be worn by customers shopping in their stores, starting on July 20th. Turning them away if they are unwilling to comply.

Now I have just enough of a “Don’t tell me!” attitude, that truthfully I will not shop at Walmart or Sam’s Club once this starts. I will find other ways to supply my family with food. I jokingly stated yesterday how I thought maybe Bible scholars had gotten it wrong, and the “mark of the beast” talked about in Scripture could be face masks instead of a microchip in the hand or forehead. After all without a face mask you will be unable to buy food. Could it be?

The one thing I know is this, I have seen our personal liberties slowly erode away since COVID-19 hit the scene. I don’t think for a moment it isn’t real, there have been too many cases to say otherwise, but the last I heard the survivor rate was something like 99%. To hear the news media and the social media experts tell it, we are only one step away from death to us all however.

“So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.” is what Senator Amidala said in Star Wars: The Clone Wars at the creation of the Galactic Empire. The people were all afraid, so they allowed their enemy (Palpatine) to take away their liberty with the lie of bettering society. I can’t help but think we are dangerously close to this now too in our own society.

My biggest concern about this mask issue, is not the mask, it’s allowing our liberties to be given away; little by little. I have no problem with you wearing a mask if this is what you have decided to do, I have a BIG problem when it is being used by government to control people. And don’t think for a minute that’s not what is going on. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our freedoms here in America, what’s next? Gun control, mandatory inoculations, a one-child birth policy, food lines?

You can call me old fashioned, a Neanderthal, or just plain stupid, but mark my words, there is more coming down the pike, so don’t be surprised when more of your freedoms and liberties are taken away, little by little. And when they are, don’t gripe about it, because remember how many were for it.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”

Today is the 244th birthday of what has been called the greatest nation on earth. I don’t know who actually coined this phrase, but I do whole heartily agree with it. Being a sometimes student of history, I found it interesting to read Patrick Henry’s speech to the second Virginia congress today. Something spoken 245 years ago still has truth in it for today’s America.

So many protesters and rioters (and I know it’s not all of them, but these are the ones who seem to have the airwaves now) have claimed they are on a mission to change America, and this is the new war to be fought. It seems the way they are choosing to fight it however is by destroying our past. Ironically, Patrick Henry spoke about this in his famous speech. I loved the following paragraph so much I felt it needed to be added to my blog.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided,” Henry said, “and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.

I am appalled at what I’ve seen on television in the past several weeks. Truthfully, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to see this. Protestors tearing down statues and working to rewrite our nation’s history. Before I go further, I do not think everything that has been done in our past is good or should be glorified, but I do believe it is part of who we are as a nation. I don’t glorify my own sordid past, but I do remember it so I don’t repeat the things I am ashamed of. If I just pretend they never happened, changing the narrative, I’m doomed to repeat my past mistakes. And we, as a nation, if we are not careful will fall into the same trap. As the old saying goes, “If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

One thing I admire about the protestors, the real protestors, not those who are being bussed in and paid to agitate the crowd. (Nothing new here either, the Pharisees did the same thing to Jesus, look it up Mark 14:55-60), is their zeal to see change happen. This is a good thing, and believe it or not is not something new to this current generation, there has always been people who wanted to see change happen.

Most of the dialogue today is about change and how bad things have been for the minority class in America, and I totally agree that in my America everyone should have the same rights; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in our nation’s declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Every man, woman and child in the United States should be treated as equals without ever looking at the color of their skin.

As he spoke, Henry held his wrists together as though they were manacled and raised them toward the heavens. “Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty”—Henry burst from his imaginary chains and grasped an ivory letter opener—“or give me death!” As he uttered these final words, he plunged the letter opener toward his chest, mimicking a knife blow to the heart.

Men and women from our past gave their lives for the most part in standing up for what they believed in. Many of the founding fathers of our fledgling country actually died penniless and broken because of their belief in a better way of life for everyone. I wonder how many of those protesting now feel this passion and have this conviction? I mean it is easy to give lip service to your ideals, but when it comes right down to it, are you really willing to die for what you believe in?

I’m not asking those who are protesting for change to actually kill themselves, that would be horrible and no one should do this, and for the record I don’t want anyone to lose their life. But I ask you this, if you are so willing to destroy our nation’s history and change the narrative for your beliefs, are you also willing to lose everything you have in the process? It’s an honest question and one only you can answer, it cannot be answered for you. Happy birthday to the United States of America, and God bless you!

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

History Is Not Important

My dad passed away on Father’s Day. Now I’m not writing this for sympathy, I actually had a thought about this while watching the news and seeing people who have lost their ever loving minds pulling down statues and trying to erase history. During this time with family and friends, I’ve heard stories about my dad I didn’t know. It’s cool to hear friends and family talk about him and remember the good times and bad. I have my own memories as well, and a lot of what I know about my dad helped to make me the man that I am today.

Now I see images of people defacing monuments and pulling down statues, acting out in a way they feel makes people realize the mistakes made hundreds of years ago were wrong and something should be done about it today. First off, I’ve never owned a slave, or been a part of the KKK or even thought any person of a color different than mine was in any way inferior to me. I live by the motto, live and let live. I may not agree with you, but as long as you’re not pushing your way on me, I say live however you want. (I do have opinions on what I feel is right and wrong, but I’ll only tell you if you ask).

The thing is about all this craziness and destroying things which are offensive to a select few people, is they are not changing anything by doing this, except to remove an object which could have been used to teach the next generation of what “not” to do. When you pull down a statue to a man because he owned a slave, you may end up feeling better about yourself, but wouldn’t it be better to leave it and use it to teach your children about a time in our history which was not really a good time?

Slavery is and was wrong. It has never been anything we as a people should have done or in many parts of the world still do. Getting rid of images which remind people of the past doesn’t change the past or even help the next generation learn about it. As the old saying goes, “Those who don’t learn from their past, are destined to repeat it.” The problem I have with removing historical things (besides the fact it seems like those doing it are children throwing a temper tantrum) is we are removing things now in America like despots in the past have done. And if you watch the reasons behind them, it becomes apparent it is a re-writing of history so they can move in and take over.

General Robert E. Lee did not affect me personally. I’m not kin to him, and I don’t know anyone who is. I don’t like the fact this military tactician chose the wrong side and fought against the union to continue the south’s ability to own slaves. But I can see a statue of him and understand what he stood for and teach my children and grandchildren what he stood for was wrong. If I never see a statue, would I do even do that?

What happens if during this time of visiting with family and friends and hearing stories about my dad, I hear something about him which is something I don’t want to know, or disappoints me about him? Does it mean I should go through the house and get rid of all his pictures and stuff and try to forget the person he was to me? It’s really the same thing as getting rid of our history.

What I think we need to do is make these places of history places of learning about the past; both good and bad. Because you know, even if one of these historical figures who is remembered in a bronze statue was a slave owner, I’m sure they actually did do some things good; they may have been good fathers or mothers, brothers or sisters, civic leaders who just happened to own slaves. I’m not condoning them, just thinking about how many things I feel I do right, but someone else may not think is right. It’s not really about right or wrong at this point, it’s about learning from our past so we do not repeat it ever again.

For the Kingdom and the King, shalom!

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

In Matthew 24:12 Jesus while talking about the signs of the end times before His return makes this statement, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but it would appear love is in short supply these days. People just don’t care about their fellow humans as much as they used to.

Social media, which was touted as bringing the world closer together, has in fact driven us all further apart I’m afraid. Something which could in fact impact the Earth in such a spectacular way, has instead become perverted and become a tool used to drive wedges between people. I for one was excited about the internet when it first became popular, and for a time I found a community of believers who understood me and where I was coming from. It was a joy.

I still have a presence in cyberspace, and for the most part I play nice while visiting, but much to the chagrin of my wife, from time to time I have been known to get on my soapbox and share my opinions with the world. One thing I have learned is to not take myself too seriously, and for sure not take the things said to me personally. I feel if you are going to put yourself out there, you have to have thick skin and be able to roll with the punches.

One thing I have noticed however which concerns me greatly is the lack of respect for people which seems to be growing in the world today. This “love of many growing cold” as Jesus said. In one interaction on Facebook a young lady and I were talking about the topic at hand when she posted, “Okay, boomer.” When I read it, I had to look up the definition of what these two words meant so I could understand what she was actually saying to me. Here’s what I found: The phrase “OK Boomer” is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock the attitudes of older people, particularly baby boomers.

I try to not be out of touch, or just set in my ways for the sake of being stubborn, but I also think I have a little bit of knowledge just for the sake of having traveled around our sun 56 times. I’m not the smartest fella, but one thing I learned growing up was to respect those men and women who were older than me, not dismiss them out of hand because their ideas weren’t the same as mine. And believe me I thought a lot of older people’s ideas weren’t altogether great when I was younger too.

I get wanting to affect change in society, to want to make the planet better for the next generation. I think anyone who just wants to take and not give something back should be challenged. But the way to challenge the status quo is to talk it out, listening on both sides and coming to a conclusion of what will make things better. Throwing temper tantrums, dismissing out of hand any idea which is different than yours and then just generally disrespecting anyone because of your ideals is just not right. Those who do this need to check the love in their hearts, both young and old.

I know I don’t have all the answers, truthfully no one does. And I commend this younger generation who is trying to make changes to leave the world better than they found it. All I would ask is in the process, see what those who came before you did, and learn the history they lived through. My fear is society will just dismiss out of hand the things we’ve endured in the past, and in so doing will force my grandchildren to live through some of those horrible things because they didn’t learn the lessons.

For the Kingdom and the King, shaom.