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My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB.

My political silence is ending…but not on FB. Fire it up.

Since last September when my dog Baron died…


…I’ve tempered my FB posts a bit in realization that FB is just nonsense and utter bullshit when it comes to politics. I love you all but it truthfully is. It devolves down to who can shout the loudest?! 

So back then, I turned over a new leaf on FB and have tried, to the best of my ability, to keep my Facebook posts free of my own personal politics (except for “liking” other peoples’ political posts). Political FB posts are often times just way too divisive. Posts on a screen don’t have the ability to change culture, or advance anything meaningful or tangible, really. It’s just an attempt of who can shout the loudest while reinforcing our own cognitive biases. We simply “like” ideas we agree with, while we dismiss (demean) ideas or people groups we don’t agree with. Facebook has become a different form of the “Christian ghetto”. Facebook requires nothing of the user other than the click of a thumbs up, or sharing things we really, really, really agree with; and we just know that if people will read what I shared they’ll change their minds and agree with my cognitive bias posts. (heavy sarcasm implied)

My blog on the other hand is fair game for any and all topics!…and it’s also where I would like to invite you all to engage me for RESPECTFUL discourse. Topics will include: theology (sin of certainty, books I’m reading, how we read the Bible, turning the other cheek vs why Jesus doesn’t champion christian warriors/soldiers, evolution), racism, politics (Dems and Repubs are both wrong, legislating morality is wrong-er), business (sales primarily), sports (KU, Royals, Sporting KC and muckfizzou), my new love of gravel grinding, BBQ (reviews and my own smoking), cigars (reviews and FDA bullshit regulation updates), etc, etc, etc. 

But everything that has happened from the president recently is absolutely unbelievable, and astonishing. And yet, at the same time, not surprising of him at all. That fact is regrettably the sad, hopeless feeling of pulling the curtain back on Trump’s true character. 

So with all this nonsensical, despicable bullshit going on from the president and the Church’s silence in response to him I might have to start firing the blog up again and I apologize in advance. 😉😎 but seriously, I want to encourage you to engage me – I’m nice…for the most part. So if you don’t understand why I believe something I wrote about, just ask me. My blog is called “Dialogo de Derek” for a reason – it’s an invitation into a conversation. It’s not meant to just be a monologue, or my own diatribe.

Honestly though, writing for me is more cathartic than anything else; it allows me to hammer something out, take a deep breath, exhale and continue on without loosing my noodle. I’ve written several posts recently and just haven’t hit “publish”. If/when I start writing again I will link to the posts on FB, but still keep my FB feed free of my direct thoughts, you’ll have to click the link to see the inner workings of my randomness. We’ll see what jumps from my brain to my blog in the coming days. You’ve been warned. 😉😜 I love you all…or at least most of you. 🤣

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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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If You Vote You Can’t Complain Because You’re The One To Blame For The Mess. Why And When It’s Ok To Not Vote

If You Vote You Can’t Complain Because You’re The One To Blame For The Mess. Why And When It’s Ok To Not Vote


Note – there is coarse language used in this post because this is a hot topic for me. And you might be offended by what I say about you, if you’ve said what pisses me off. But do know that I still love you. 😊👍

I used to be super gung-ho about politics. It was just as exciting as sports for me. I grew up very similar to Alex P. Keaton in “Family Ties” but where he admired Nixon I admired Reagan.

IMG_1788 IMG_1819  

(Tangent – I love Michael J Foxx and am heartbroken by what Parkinson’s has done to him.) 

The third picture above is something I drew after the 1984 presidential election when Reagan won reelection against Mondale. The laser beam shooting from Reagan’s spaceship was clearly what helped Reagan win a landslide election against Mobdsle in a horse drawn buggy. What normal 9 year old kid does that? It’ll probably be in the Smithsonian someday. 😉

People used to tell me I should run for office. I have been to Reagan’s Library in Simi Valley, CA countless times. I have worked endless hours on candidates’ campaigns. I have stood on street corners waving candidates signs on Election Day. I stood next to a US congressional district candidate as he placed his concession call to his opponent late in the evening on election night. I even almost moved to DC after the candidate I supported lost…and then later after he had lost went to jail on wire fraud charges and a mortgage scheme. But that’s a story for later. 

But I am now disheartened super ticked off at both the Republican and Democratic parties for a variety of party-specific matters, but collectively from both parties’ desire to legislate morality. Legislating morality is not their job – government is not the moral compass of the people.

So here we are today on Super Tuesday and I knew rather soon I would start seeing people litter Facebook with the same old, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”.

Bullshit!

That comment is tired, trite, pious, and just flat out wrong. Do not say this to people. You’re just being an ass and ending the conversation. Plus if you voted for the jerked in office then you’re the one to blame when everything goes to hell – not the person who doesn’t vote. George Carlin waxes eloquently and crudely on this topic. This video is NSFW and if you’re easily offended by cuss words…well you shouldn’t have read this post but definitely do t watch this video; and he also makes an allegorical reference of masturbation. You’ve been warned. 

Voting is an amazing privilege we have in the United States. If a voter feels so compelled to not attach their name/vote with any candidate because of a believed lack of proper representation from the candidates then that (non)voter has every right to be just as involved in discussions as some one who did cast a vote. Unless you’re going to continue in being an ass with that point of view.
Two weeks ago my wife asked me who I would vote for and I told her I don’t know and that I might not cast a vote for the presidential race. My conviction (as a recovering Republican) after studying the current candidates leads me to the conclusion that there are no candidates that I would put my name behind to support. Kansas is a caucus state and individual voters in Kansas do not vote today on Super Tuesday. So, thankfully I dont have to make a decision today about voting or not voting. As of right now I don’t know if I’ll vote. I’ll let the primaries play out and see who rises from the dust (read: multi-million dollar campaigns). I do know this; if Trump wins the Republican nomination I will vote for whoever the Democrat is. That is a definite.

Now having said that…
Two warnings to non-voters:
1) Not voting costs the non-voter nothing it should not be used as a scapegoat for that person to say, “Well, it’s not my fault, I didn’t vote.” Well, no shit Sherlock but this is not your time to grandstand because of your decision. You still have a stake in the game. You should be so upset by your lack of representation to be moved to action and not have to repeat the same abstention the next election.

and…
2) For god’s sake, don’t not vote as a cover for you to be lazy and ignorant about the candidates and the issues. Get off your ass, educate yourself and care about your community so when jackasses stop saying “If you don’t vote you can’t complain” then you can bring a reasonable opinion and point of view to the conversation.

So in wrapping up…if come election day I end up not voting you can be frustrated with me if you want – it’s your prerogative. But please understand this, I’m not voting because I don’t care enough, but because I care too much.

I care too much about our country and the sacrifices made by our military to see our government elections devolve into popularity contests and capital pissing matches. I don’t have the solution to everything (or anything in particular) but I also won’t sit idly by and watch my country’s government become a mockery of idiots making big decisions with far reaching ramifications and/or consequences.

Yes, I might not cast a vote in the presidential race, but dammit, it’s not it’s because I don’t care, but because I care too much.

Those are my four half-pennies.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in culture, politics, Uncategorized

 

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Robin Hood’s Tax

Friday night at the private opening of Maduro Cigar Lounge (http://www.facebook.com/MaduroLounge)  I had a very enjoyable talk with two well-respected and well-known gentlemen of Arkansas – they were also father and son. One of the topics we talked about was the lottery in AR. During the conversation the phrase of it being a “tax on the poor” was used.  This blog-post isn’t about my feelings on the lottery – I’m absolutely ok with it; but instead this post is how I have a bit of a problem with the phrase “the lottery is a tax on the poor”.

Again, you can agree or disagree with what I am about to say – obviously everybody is entitled to their opinion…but I hope that we can be people who at the very least can understand each other’s perspective. Understanding ≠ agreement.

Now, my friend used the phrase, “tax on the poor”, but by no means is it only him who uses this phrase, I have heard it used countless times. When people choose to use the phrase, “tax on the poor” they are trying to convey the point that the lottery preys on the poor and gets them to buy the lottery tickets when they have a hard enough time just rubbing two nickels together.  I can understand completely what they mean when they say this, but I think it’s a stretch to phrase it like this. Actually, check that, I think it’s a complete bastardization of the word “tax” and manipulation of words chosen solely to prey on our heart-strings.

Tax in its rudimentary form has been around for centuries – probably since the beginning of time when people were exchanging something of value for something else. I’m not an expert on taxes – in fact I hate taxes. I’ve been working on my taxes this weekend and I want less taxes. A friend of mine said that if we want tax reform we would have everybody write a check each month for their taxes instead of having them automatically deducted out of their paycheck – it’s a big eye opener when you pay your tax that way…and that’s a rabbit-trail I might chase in another post but for now it’s not the main point.

The word tax, obviously has a couple definitions. One definition refers to if something is taxing then that means it’s burdensome or tiresome. The other definition is the more common understanding – a tax is a monetary payment levied by a government on its people or businesses. Taxes can be collected on a number of things: income, sales, property, etc. I believe the latter definition is the or definition, or implied meaning, that is being used for this phrase.

Ok, now the main reason for this post…

The fact is, I have the ability to choose whether or not I will buy a lottery ticket – I am in no way whatsoever forced to buy a lottery ticket. And the good news is, everybody else has this same ability to choose on their own. Now…taxes are a different matter. If I choose to not pay my income tax a certain group of people in the IRS might object to my choice. What I’m trying to say is, I don’t have the ability to choose whether or not I will pay my taxes – it is automatically included in to everything you and I buy and automatically deducted out of your paycheck*. When you buy your groceries does the checker ask you, “Would you like to pay sales tax on your bread, butter, and apple juice?” No, that choice is not given – it’s automatically included in to your total.

If I choose to not pay my income tax I have the very real possibility of going to jail for being a tax evader. If I choose to not buy a lottery ticket well…there’s no penalty. And because of this I think it is woefully incorrect to call it a “tax on the poor”.

Finally, you might be thinking, this is just an issue of semantics. Well, actually, yes, it kind of is. Semantics is looking at the meaning behind words and phrases and that’s pretty much what I just did. I think we need to avoid being lazy with our words and instead be more intentional with our words, and the implied messages we send. Saying it’s a “tax on the poor” might tug on the heartstrings but it is categorically incorrect. Furthermore, I think we need to be more responsible with the words we choose. Responsible = able to give a response.  Hopefully we can be more cognizant and intentional of the words and phrases we choose instead of merely just provoking a reaction.

Provoking a reaction isn’t the same thing as saying something significant.

– Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes

* I am an independent contractor, my income tax is not automatically deducted out of my paycheck. Uncle Sam instead allows me to smile and write a check to him each quarter to cover my portion.

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2012 in culture, politics

 

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Agreed? Yep, we disagree.

First of all, please understand I’m random. I’m not ADHD, I can focus just fine when I want to, but sometimes the thoughts that pop in my head are just plain random. I can’t explain where the random thoughts come from other than I was the kid who incessantly asked my Dad and Mom, “Why?”. Plus, in my job I have lots of time while I’m driving or while I’m sitting in doctors’ offices to allow the randomness to pepper my brain which is why if you follow me on twitter you’ll see lots of my randomness spill onto twitter moreso than on Facebook.

All that to say, the next couple blog-posts of mine are, well…random, but they are also well intentioned to hopefully increase respectful conversations on difficult topics. I would hope they might be able to help us move beyond the stalemate of “we must agree to disagree” and move to “good men can disagree”. In the first instance there’s no room for considering another view, where in the second instance it allows for discussion. When conversations spill over into beliefs (be it political or religious) they are messy and yet also fun as long as they are combined with a heaping serving of respect.

I’ve been developing some blog posts to get back in the swing of things and hopefully post more often. Over the past couple days I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite books, some of my own writing, and also reading other people’s blogs to help spur me on. But the interesting things is that the recent stream of thought has circled around an idea of how we tend to be an “all or nothing” society. I’ll explain more fully what I mean by that when I hit the ol’ “Publish” button in wordpress of my next blog-post, but suffice it to say, for now, that what I mean is we tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater when we hear beliefs that differ from our own beliefs and not see what good can come in the grey areas of life. I love exploring the grey areas of life and I would hope we could all move to dance in the grey area a little more.

I recently came across a quote in a book I read a couple years ago that I think can help us be more respectful in our conversations – I also think that it segues nicely into my next blog-post about our “all or nothing” society.

(this quote is from a “christian” perspective in regards to living life with “non-christians” but it’s applicable to living life with people of no particular “classification”)

“A Christian’s dialogue with another implies neither a denial in the uniqueness of Christ, nor any loss of his own commitment to Christ, but rather that a genuinely Christian approach to others must be human, personal, relevant and humble. In dialogue we share our common humanity, its dignity and fallenness, and express our common concern for that humanity’ (Report II, para. 6). If we do nothing but proclaim the gospel to people from a distance, our personal authenticity is bound to be suspect. Who are we? …But when we sit down alongside them like Philip in the Ethiopian’s chariot, or encounter them face to face, a personal relationship is established. Our defences come down. We begin to be seen and known for what we are. It is recognized that we too are human beings, equally sinful, equally needy, equally dependent on the grace of which we speak. …We still want to share the good news with him, for we care about it deeply, but we also care now about him with whom we want to share it. As the Mexico report put it, ‘true dialogue with a man of another faith, requires a concern both for the Gospel and for the other man. Without the first, dialogue becomes a pleasant conversation. Without the second, it becomes irrelevant, unconvincing and arrogant” (Witness in Six Continents, 1964, p. 146)

(please note there are several different talking points in this quote that could be unpacked, which I will leave for another post; instead focus on the central idea of the quote)

So before we jump into my next post I think it’d do us all some good to enjoy a song from a band who also enjoyed dabbling in the grey areas of life. Let’s relax and enjoy life together.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in culture, theology

 

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Oh to undo what’s been done in “1000 Years”

I’m posting an email (once upon a time people actually communicated this way) from a friend who was answering a question I asked about the lyrics of one of his songs which was compelling and provocative (in a good way). This friend was the lead singer of my favorite band, Shaking Tree. The shows his band put on were second to none and he is a lyrical genius. Unfortunately his band is no longer touring because as he put it, “They had to grow up and get real jobs.” so he is now in law school…whether or not becoming a lawyer is a real job or not is beside the point. 😉 This email is from a few years back, but still very relevant to this day about how the wider world views religion and Christians. Note: the way most view Jesus is normally very different than how most view Christians. I disagree with some parts and agree with most parts of the email but I’m not posting this to refute, or condone, but to allow the readers of my blog to consider the truths which Dain speaks of and to see how you can see God in Dain. I hope he’s strumming on his guitar and we’re throwing back beers together just like in college whenever we both get to the big Kansas in the sky. {I have corrected spelling so as not to be distracting from the message}

“Hey Derek,

About “1000 Years”…I really don’t like to get into my own views about Christianity and the church too much. In matters concerning faith I find that sometimes the things that one person finds ridiculous, is the core to someone elses spiritual perspective. As someone whose views, in spiritual matters, are not common place in main stream society, I recognize that we all walk down different paths externally and internally to find answers regarding our souls and our purpose. Because of that, I’m not interested in trying to completely uproot anyone’s internal beliefs. As a songwriter I’m just as concerned about what people think when they hear a song than what I am actually writing about. The meaning of most songs should change according to who is listening and what personal experiences the song reminds them of.

All that being said, my views about “1000 Years” have stayed consistent since I first wrote the song. I never intended for this song to be speaking about just religious leaders, but anyone who uses a doctrine that is intended to have absolute truths (the Bible, the Koran, Mein Kampf) with no room to compromise or adjust any principle, for political gain and control of a population.

I guess I wasn’t trying to strike a loud chord with this song, down with religion or anything like that, but just to make people think. Not about religion per se but about religion and politics. As someone who has read the Bible I would be extremely frightened if we, as a country, decided to prepare for the prophecies of Revelations. Also, what I see now is a political movement to christianize our schools, government, and the way law is decided and practiced. I have seen a few church leaders speak out against this fundamentalist movement, but I don’t see it as being effective. The fundamentalist/conservatives yell much louder. Like the song says (truth lacks the convictions of passionate lies) and the Bible is full of contradictions. The ability for debate is slowly eroding in this country because the argument that, “Jesus said…” can and has overridden many peoples sense of humanity and reason, especially in the great state of Kansas and to an extent in our policy in the middle east. This is not to say that religious concerns cannot be valid in a democracy, but with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the complexity of terrorism, individual rights and religions age-old bigotry towards science (and in many cases life saving science) I don’t see how theses issues can be solved by a more moderate form of christianity without disregarding part of the message that the bible promotes in the same way the conservative/fundamentalist do. I hope that the moderates are able to combat this path that we seem to be heading in.

Anyway, in a nutshell this is what goes on in my head. I hope I didn’t say anything offensive because I’m never really sure where people are coming from and outside of the political arena I’m extremely supportive of others’ beliefs even if they don’t even closely connect with my own. The cool things about music is that once the song is out of the writer’s hands, its meaning becomes the listeners regardless of the writer’s intention. I’m always a little reluctant to talk about songs because of this. The last thing I want to do is ruin a song for someone. Anyway–I’ll see you on Thursday –take care.   — Dain

This is me again.  Below are the lyrics of “1000 Years” to see what Dain is talking about in the description of his views on religion; if you want to hear the song, just let me know – it’s phenomenal.

Shepherds in Bethlehem wait for him to be born, what will man do in his name? They will call him a god, they will look for the marks, every free soul there will pay.

Whispers of innocence drowned out in tears, everyone must choose a side, truth lacks conviction of passionate lies, the sin is too fragile, to hurt us inside!

1000 die by some man’s foolish pride, 1000 lost to God and all his lies, 1000 loaves soon replaced by fear, it hasn’t changed in 1000 years. 1000 screams lost within the air, 1000 lives buried in the sand, 1000 mommas soon replaced by tears, it has changed within 1000 years.

Politicians and preachers corrupt from inside, ask us to lay down like lambs. They will say they’re for love they will talk of compassion, question ’em and they skate along.

Whispers of innocence drowned out in tears, everyone must choose a side, truth lacks conviction of passionate lies, the sin is too fragile, to hurt us inside!”

1000 die by some man’s foolish pride, 1000 lost to God and all his lies, 1000 loaves soon replaced by fear, hasn’t changed in 1000 years. 1000 screams lost within the air, 1000 lives buried in the sand, 1000 mommas soon replaced by tears, it has changed within 1000 years.

Whispers of innocence drowned out in tears, everyone must choose a side, truth lacks conviction of passionate lies, the sin is too fragile, to hurt us inside!”

1000 die by some man’s foolish pride, 1000 lost to God and all his lies, 1000 loaves soon replaced by fear, hasn’t changed in 1000 years. 1000 screams lost within the air, 1000 lives buried in the sand, 1000 mommas soon replaced by tears, it has changed within 1000 years.

Later this week I’ll be upgrading my space to include the songs, but until then you can check out: Dain and Dain on myspace You can buy some of his music on iTunes, unfortunately you can’t buy my two favorite songs of his, “Complications” (that I actually was able to record with him!) and “1000 Years”. But again, I have both of these if you want to hear them.

 
 

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midrash film night – “Capitalism, A Love Story”

I stole this from Eikon’s blog b/c I didn’t have a chance to write up something as succinct as Ryan and he can do snazzier graphics b/c he has a mac and I’m merely a pc user.  My next post will be why the mac subculture considers themselves godlike; but until then enjoy this post from a near-god Ryan.  😉

Eikon\’s blog

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midrash film night presents michael moore’s capitalism: a love story Posted by Ryan Byrd

10.05.2009 7:31 pm     FILED UNDER announcements, culture, events, gatherings, movies Bookmark and Share

michael moore capitalism

i’m excited to announce the next midrash event—a film night—in which we will be viewing and discussing michael moore’s latest film, capitalism: a love story.

whether you love him or hate, moore keenly understands how to make a movie that demands lengthy discussion and hearty debate. in this movie, moore asks tough questions about our nation’s economic system and also proposes that some people hold capitalism in the same regards, if not higher, than their religion. considering moore’s other movies—sicko, fahrenheit 9/11 and bowling for columbine—this promises to be a very compelling movie.

interestingly, this movie has an even more compelling—theologically speaking—subplot than other moore films. apparently moore delves into matters of religion in the movie, asking whether or not capitalism is a sin. in a recent column on the huffington post, moore writes directly to “those of you on your way to church this morning”, saying,

I have come to believe that there is no getting around the fact that capitalism is opposite everything that Jesus (and Moses and Mohammed and Buddha) taught. All the great religions are clear about one thing: It is evil to take the majority of the pie and leave what’s left for everyone to fight over. Jesus said that the rich man would have a very hard time getting into heaven. He told us that we had to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers and that the riches that did exist were to be divided fairly. He said that if you failed to house the homeless and feed the hungry, you’d have a hard time finding the pin code to the pearly gates.

so, this is sure to be a good conversation that should warrant insights into both theology and politics. here’s a few quick details.

we’ll gather at market street cinema this wednesday, october 7 where the movie starts at 7 p.m. (of course, you’ll want to get there a few minutes early to grab a cold beverage). it lasts a little over 2 hours and at its conclusion, we’ll head over a couple blocks to java roasting company to discuss what we’ve seen.

this should be a movie fit perfectly for a midrash film night, so don’t miss it! and invite a friend! see you there.

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Posted by on October 6, 2009 in politics, theology

 

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Midrash, Film Night

One of the nation’s, if not world’s, most provocative movie producers is touching an extremely volatile third rail in his newest movie,  \”Capitalsm, A Love Story\”.

In this movie Moore asks tough questions about our nation’s economic system and also proposes that some people hold capitalism in the same regards, if not higher, than their religion. Considering Moore’s other movies (“Sicko”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, and “Bowling For Columbine”) this promises to be a very compelling movie.

How important is capitalism to you? How important is capitalism to our nation? Should capitalism be the economic system of our nation? How does capitalism affect our religious beliefs? Can you be a Christian and be a capitalist?  These questions and others will be discussed when we get together after the movie.

The exact start time for the evening is not officially set yet because Market Street Cinema has not released the show times for the movie. The plan is to watch the movie and then discuss it as a group afterward. We’ll either discuss the movie in Market Street Cinema or mosey a couple blocks east to Java Roasting Company.  Check out the blog for when we’ll meet at Market Street Cinema.

Come on out, grab a brew (yes, Market Street Cinema serves wine and beer!), share your view, and lend an ear to others’.

How Important is Capitalism To You?

How Important is Capitalism To You?

…midrash, commentary on culture

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2009 in politics, theology

 

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