Friday, December 30, 2011

The Propaganda Machine continues

I've seen the above image popping up on various people's Facebook pages recently, and all I can do is just shake my head in disgust. It's just another example of the mindless propaganda that gets posted and passed on by people who apparently have no capacity to stop and think for themselves. And, in my opinion, just another chance at "Christians" to take a jab at the Muslim religion.

First of all, who is saying it's not okay for Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to pray? Has the NFL asked him to stop doing it? No. Have fans made a public outcry against it? No. Truth of the matter is, you have media corporations like Fox News that like to stir the pot, and they see it as an opportunity to create yet another divisive story by claiming that Tebow is "under fire" for his religious views. So, the media sees this as a golden opportunity to sell a controversy — after all, controversy = ratings, right? They go find a few people who are asked loaded questions about Tebow's faith until they find someone who gives them the antagonistic answer they like, and that's the clip they use. Bam! Instant controversial news story.

The only real anti-Tebow quote I've heard that they could dig up was from former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer, who said he wished he would "just shut up." Hardly a scathing religious persecution. And, besides, who cares what a washed up quaterback that hasn't played in the league in five years has to say? But, hey, it fit the media's need for a quote to round out their story.

Christians in general like to claim the persecuted role. Two thousand years ago, that may have been the case, but today in the United States, the only real persecution we have is for the most part self-inflicted when we try to force our views onto others. Like the photo above shows, this should be a land of religious freedom, not forced Christian dominance. That's what our founding fathers wanted, a place where people were free to worship as they please. Somehow that's been twisted into thinking tolerance is some form of anti-American sentiment, when the opposite is actually true.

Personally, I don't want to live in a land where I'm told what belief system I have to adopt. If most people would stop and look past their prejudices and think about it for a moment, they'd probably feel the same.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Long December

"It's been a long December
And there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last

I can't remember all the times
I've tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass"
—Counting Crows

December is a paradox. It both flies by and drags on at the same time, somehow merging into a time of year that is insanely rushed and busy, but sometimes feels like it will never end. And, like every year, it's a time to both reflect and to look ahead.

When did things become so complicated? What happened to those magical childhood Christmases that we all have fond memories of? I realize as an adult, those fade into reality, but I'm not completely sure if my kids are getting it. Do they feel like I remember feeling? Can they not sleep because of the excitement of what might be waiting for them under the tree the next morning? Somehow, Christmas has become just another thing we try to get through instead of enjoying.

And as I ponder this, I realize it's not only Christmas. Our children have a pretty hectic schedule. There's swimming (and lots of it), there's concerts, there's school functions and friends' birthday parties, and it seems that more and more we're just trying to get through all the events, as if there's going to be some moment of peace somewhere down the line.

And, now that I think of it, it's not just me, but pretty much all of society. Somehow we've become so busy trying to get through life, we're missing out on living it. Just like the lyrics to the song above, I can't remember all the times I've tried to tell myself to hold on to these moments as they pass. Don't see everything as a chore, or a task at hand, but try to approach it as being a memory, something worth cherishing and hanging on to, because one day, near the end, we're going to regret just getting by to the next week, or the next month or the next year. There's a quote attributed to Steve Jobs, but it's also a Chinese proverb, that says "the journey is the reward." We need to focus on that more.

Yes, it has been a long December … and maybe this year will be better than the last. Or at least one that I learn to slow down and enjoy.