Race: From an Outsider March 17, 2007Posted by June in Artist Thinker Articles, Blog.
To get myself back into the swing of things, I thought I would take some time to muse over something that has been such a big yet small part of my entire life. It’s big in that it has implications that are not apparent on the surface that must be dealt with, small because the sheer monotony of it all after all these years has rendered it virtually irrelevant.
I’m talking about race.
I can still remember that youthful, ignorant time when none of this mattered at all. I remember singing in Sunday school the song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” and having no idea what it meant when it said,”…red and yellow, black and white; They are precious in His sight…”
I have a vague memory of asking someone (I can’t remember who.) what it meant and beginning for the first time to grasp the concept of race. I finally recognized white people as white and black people as black (Though, to me, they looked brown, not black; and white people didn’t look that pasty. I could not for the life of me figure out why in the world they called American Indians “red” and Chinese “yellow.”).
Then, I have another separate memory of hearing about these people who have no definite race because they are equally or nearly equally composed of more than one race. I remember wondering what these people looked like. I remember wondering what it was like to have more than one race. Then I remember my parents informing me that I was one of these mixed kids.
I couldn’t believe it, at first. I looked at my parents and couldn’t see any differences at all. I looked at myself and couldn’t see any differences between me and all the other kids. Suddenly, I was conscious of the whispering and staring and pointing that we received whenever we set foot out the door because, at that time, interracial families were extremely rare.
Let’s hit the fast forward button to today. Things have changed a bit in that we are no longer such an oddity, at least, in the South. I’ve heard of odd things from other people who have recently ventured to that “blue” zone of the North, which I have not personally done since I was a little munchkin, or have moved from there. According to numerous personal accounts, the North is not a place where interracial families would want to live. The people up there even in big cities like Chicago still seem to view us as aliens from another planet.
So, for the most part, things are great. I have yet to meet anyone who is overtly racist, except for my aunt’s mother-in-law. Still, even when things are this great, there is still something missing. Most of the time I’m unconscious of it. It’s not something that I think about all that often; but whenever I encounter a “mutt” like myself, I can’t help but feel an extra sense of affinity to that person and a sort of joy at meeting someone who looks like me.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against anyone of any race. It’s just that one can’t help but feel like an outsider, a lone guppy among sharks. Part of the reason why has nothing to do with how people behave towards you. It’s a fact of reality that there are boundaries and cohesion among races. People are just more comfortable around people they look like. Just set foot into a room where you are the only person of your race and are surrounded by people who are of one race; and you will see what I mean. That’s the feeling that I have 24/7. To me, that is normal everyday average ordinary life, which, for the most part, I have gotten used to.
Still, another part of the reason has everything to do with how people behave towards you, whether it’s conscious or not. You do not belong. Most of the time, they know that. So they look at you as a stranger even after knowing each other for a while. This does fade after a good long time, thankfully; but the fact that it is consistent occurance without much of a breather does have an impact.
Sometimes the stranger attitude is more overt and never goes away. For example, if you are a white person looking at a half-black, half-white kid, what do you see? You see a black kid, right? If you are a black person looking at the same kid, what do you see? You see a white kid, right? Some people are quick and consistent in reminding you of this. The black people will refer to you as “white boy”, while white people will call you African American. (These days with the PC stuff around, they would not dare call you a “black boy” to your face.)
Of course, this is all assuming that you are not famous. When a “mutt” becomes famous, watch out! Suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a great tug-of-war over which race you are. (Look at the battle over Tiger Woods a few years ago.) People on both sides demand that you choose a side and deny your true heritage. Tiger Woods did not give in; but some, such as Barack Obama, do cast one half of themselves aside because it is expedient to do so. It’s pathetic and maddening! Whenever I see this, I feel like spitting on the participants because it is pure hypocrisy. There’s no other way to look at it. (I do have to mention that, in such cases, the white half seems to generally have no claim by default.)
This is why I call myself an outsider. I am not famous. Therefore, I have no claim to my heritage. I do think of myself as being part of these races; but others don’t see it that way. So I have no race. I am a mixed-breed, a “mutt”. So all of us mixed-breeds must band together to form a new race, a race we can call our own, at least, until we become famous.
Picking Up the Pieces March 15, 2007Posted by June in Misc..
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Yes, I know what some of you may have thought from that title; but I don’t talk about things like that.
Instead, I am here to bring to you the plight of someone who deserves to have her story told. This is the blog of the fiance of one of our brave soldiers in Iraq who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. She tells the story of life after death in this life. Her writing is powerful and moving. If you don’t cry when you read her blog, I don’t know who you are.
As I write this blog, I wonder if anyone will even read it… I am no one important by any means!
But, I will write as if someone is reading very intently.
Well, My fiancee was just killed in Iraq on 08 Feb 07…
My life has been a blur since. I am not blaming anyone (except the flipping Muslims…) But I just have so many questions that cannot have an answer to them.
-Was he in pain?
-What were his last words?
-Was he thinking about me?
-Did he have time to think?
-Did he see it coming?
Most of all:
I love God with all my heart, I really do… This just all seems so unfair! We did everything right from the start, and now I have nothing to look forward to in my life! Talk about depressing… I went from planning a wedding to a funeral…
I know God has a plan, though. He always does. & It’s usually better than what we had in mind anyways… But I cannot imagine life any better than what it was! Jim wasn’t perfect- but he was perfect for ME….
So now my prayer is that God would make himself clear to me. I told him I am willing to do anything & go anywhere… I just need him to make it crystal clear for me.
And I wonder how I’ll do in the love area? I am only 19 years old. Still young enough that I have a (hopefully) long life ahead of me- Will I have bars across my heart for fear of being hurt again? Will I even have the chance to love again?
I think I worry too much….
Digg It March 3, 2007Posted by June in Blog.
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I have decided to send in one of my stories to Digg.com. It’s my all time favorite article on the Gray World.
If any of you out there have already read this and liked it, please click on the Digg It box on the article.
Military Blogs February 24, 2007Posted by June in Around the World, Blog, Politics, War on Terror.
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Yes, I finally got this thing to load in properly. I downloaded the Opera browser; and, for some reason, that has fixed things. (It’s a little slower though…)
Anyway, I want to take the time to highlight some blogs that I think should be on everyone’s daily reading. These are a couple of military blogs by soldiers on the front lines.
For this one, I would suggest going here first as it gives some suggested posts to read on your first visit.
These guys have links to many other military blogs on their sites. So you can browse around and find your favorite soldier blogger. I tried to put up a feed to the Acute Politics site; but that Atom feed isn’t coming in right. My apologies…
Technical Difficulties February 21, 2007Posted by June in Blog.
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This is weird. I’m looking at this crazy page that has completely removed any styling from the code causing the page to display with each item one on top of the other. I’ve been trying to figure this out for weeks. There’s apparently something wrong with the computer I’m using or something because I have written to the big guys at the helm; and I’m the only one having this problem. Great…
Happy Thanksgiving November 23, 2006Posted by June in Blog.
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It’s been a while. Too long, I guess. I haven’t written anything in the past several weeks.
Exhaustion is mostly to blame. Debating takes a lot out of me, especially when that person refuses to listen and ignores what I have to say; but it doubles even more when people start getting really nasty.
But this is Thanksgiving. This is a time to reflect on what we are most thankful for.
What am I thankful for?
Despite everything, I’m thankful for each and every one of my experiences, both good and bad. That’s what I’m most thankful for. Some of them have been scary; others have been frustrating; others have been exhausting; others have been emotionally draining; and still others have been downright painful.
But these are the things that make me who I am. Without them, I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be as capable of appreciating the good things in life without them because such things are relative to the level of comfort that a person is accustomed to.
It never ceases to amaze me how the people with the most blessings, with the easiest life, are most often the people who don’t believe in God. Those are the people who say that God is uncaring and unfair.
No, God chastises. God gives us a dose of tough love because, sometimes, that is what is necessary to get our attention. He also trains certain people to endure in order to double their blessings later on in their lifetimes. And sometimes, He allows some people, such as the Apostles, to be persecuted or even killed to show others the strength of that person’s faith.
But if people refuse to believe in God, that’s their loss. I am thankful for my crutch, my ever present helper. I’m thankful for all of the good things in my life that I can truly appreciate and enjoy and all of the bad that allows me to truly enjoy them.
By the way, I am going to aim at writing an article on the Flood. I decided this a while ago; but I have been too exhausted to follow through.
Still Here September 7, 2006Posted by June in Blog.
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Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I have been here; but I have done what I promised myself that I would not do when I started this blog. I have gotten myself into an ongoing debate. So I have been sidetracked with that on Inaeth’s blog.
Hopefully, I will wrap it up soon. If not, then I will do my best to write another article anyway.
Death, Hell, and Apple Trees August 15, 2006Posted by June in Artist Thinker Articles, Christianity, Religion.
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How can a loving God ever allow people to die and, especially, go to Hell? And what’s with that apple tree? Why would a loving God trap people like that? And what’s so bad about eating from a tree anyway?
Have you ever asked yourself this? Well, my answer to your questions is that God does all of this because He loves us. “He does this because He loves us?” you might ask. Yes, if He didn’t do this, we would be cursing Him for His coercion; but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take this back a little bit by talking about death.
What exactly is death?
Most people would probably say that death occurs when the brain ceases to function; but this is an imperfect definition according to the Bible. For if death occurs when the brain ceases to function, then what is the second death in which there is no ceasing of brain function (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8)? Also, the Bible is clear that a person continues to have thoughts without this brain after he dies whether or not he resides in heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31); and thoughts are what truly matter and what people are concerned with, not the lifeless functioning of a computer.
Quite frankly, science has yet to figure out how a brain thinks on its own. The brain is basically a highly sophisticated computer. It stores information, sends out the information, receives information, has regular commands stored in it, etc.; but it does not reason, consider, or feel. Something is operating this computer. True, some theorize that if we make a computer sophisticated enough that it will eventually somehow think on its own; and there are computers that seem to think on their own; but we still have to program these computers to “think on their own.” Information had to be put into that computer. It isn’t really thinking on its own. It’s following commands and utilizing information that has been put into it. You can’t just create an advanced computer and expect it to come to life on its own. You have to also put in information, programs. It will never spontaneously come to “life” on its own upon creation.
So, then what is death? Death is a permanent separation. The first death occurs when the soul separates from the body; and the second death occurs when the soul is forever separated from God.
Think about it. When you mourn a death, you are not mourning the fact that a brain has ceased functioning. You are mourning the fact that you are now separated from that person, that soul who is dear to your heart, for the rest of your life and, maybe, for eternity if you are a Christian but that person did not accept the gift of eternal life.
So, when God warned Adam and Eve, who had never experienced death before, that they would die if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, He was warning them that He would cast them from His sight and protection, that they would no longer fellowship with Him.
So, why did God even set up this apple tree? Why put temptation in their way?
First of all, although the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is often portrayed in paintings and photos as being an apple tree, there is no indication in the Bible that this is actually so. More likely, the fruit this tree bore looked nothing like any of the fruit that we see today.
With that out of the way, we can discuss why God put it there.
Let me ask you something. If I asked you what kind of bread you wanted for a sandwich that I was going to make you and gave you the choice of either white bread or white bread, wouldn’t you wonder why I even bothered to ask you? In such a case, I am, obviously, determined to give you what I wanted to give you but offered you the choice just to say that I did; and, if you didn’t like it, I could say that you chose it.
God loves us and wanted our love in return. He gave us a truly remarkable gift, the gift of free will, that must exist in order for love to exist; but what good is free will if our only choices are the ones God wants us to make? Why bother give us free will?
If God had deprived Adam and Eve of the choice to disobey Him, how could anyone say that Adam and Eve truly loved God? It’s impossible.
Love must be a free choice, or else it is merely coercion. For love to be a free choice, there must actually exist choices.
That’s where the Tree comes in.
God loved Adam and Eve so much that He allowed them to choose to be separated from Him. He gave them ample warning that they would die (or be permanently separated from Him) if they ate it:
“1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'””
Yet they still ate from it; but God, being the loving God that He is, gave them a path of redemption if they so chose to come back to Him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This does not save us from the first death. Remember the first death is part of the curse God placed on man after they ate from the tree.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
This is a temporary death for those who trust in God, though, for we will be reunited with our bodies born anew at the rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
With all of this explained, what then is Hell do you think?
So many times in the Bible good has been referred to as light and evil as darkness. What is darkness? Can you tell me? Darkness is the absense of light. If you try to find the particles that make up darkness, you will not find it because it is the absense of light that creates darkness.
In the same way, Hell is a place from which God has completely removed Himself in order to accommodate those who have chosen to reject Him. God loves us so much that He does not force Himself on us. If we do not want Him, He will let us go; but know that the absense of God means the absense of good because evil is the absense of good; and God is the definition of good.
God already cast Adam and Eve from His immediate presence; and this imperfect world is the result of only a bit of God removing Himself. How much more terrible is it when God completely removes Himself?
Therefore, Hell is the second death, the eternal separation from God.
13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the end of Part 1 in my series on God’s grace. More will come later.
Part 1: Death, Hell, and Apple Trees
A Little Sidetracked August 1, 2006Posted by June in Blog.
Well, I got a little bit sidetracked with those last two posts; but I thought that they were interesting and important to post. I promise that my latest article will come soon.
In the meantime, enjoy those two.
Attacks at Gitmo August 1, 2006Posted by June in Around the World, News, Politics, War on Terror.
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We’ve all heard about the inhumane treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay; but have you heard about the inhumane treatment of the guards? I’ve heard libs moaning over the supposed lack of furniture and other such things in prisoner’s cells. Too bad most of that isn’t true. If it were, our boys over there who are doing the job of watching these “innocents” would not be abused as much as they are.
By JOHN SOLOMON
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons.
Pentagon incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press show Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by “cocktails” of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.
They’ve been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small “bean holes” used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate.
The detainee “reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team member’s helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes,” states a May 27, 2005, report on an effort to remove a recalcitrant prisoner from his cell.
With many nearing five years in U.S. captivity, the prisoners “have a Ph.D. in being a detainee” and “know our procedures and they try to turn them against us and try to make us question what we are doing,” said Army Lt. Col. Michael J. Nicolucci, the prison’s executive officer.
“They’ll take the smallest things, be it a piece of rust,” he said. “They told us they are going to take that piece of rust and they are going for the jugular, they are going for the eye. They know what our vulnerabilities are, anatomically speaking.”
Meal plates, shower flip-flops, cleaning brushes and other items deemed harmless in civilian life also are commonly turned into weapons, the reports said. For instance:
-“Detainee in cell (redacted) grabbed the radio from an MP and then threw the radio at the MP. The detainee then threw rocks at the MP,” a Dec. 23, 2003, incident report stated.
-A detainee “reached out of his bean hole and attacked MP (name redacted) with a piece of metal foot pad from toilet striking him on the left hip area,” a July 15, 2005, report said.
-“Detainee broke off the top of his sink, subsequently broke out the window then began throwing the sink and pieces of pipes at the Block Guard,” a March 25, 2005, report said.
One of the most unusual incidents detailed in the four-inch stack of incident reports occurred when a detainee in the prison recreation yard assaulted a guard with a bloody tail torn from a lizard.
The detainee “caught the iguana by the tail at which time the tail detached,” the May 2005 report described. When the guard turned to talk to a commanding officer, “he felt something strike him in the lower right back” and then “saw the tail on the ground at his feet and blood was in the same area of his uniform.” The detainee said he was “just playing.”
Nicolucci said one of the most serious incidents occurred this May, too recent to be recorded in the Pentagon’s released reports. A prisoner staged an apparent suicide attempt while his inmates slicked the floors with human waste, seeking to overpower guards when they slipped, he said.
“We provide fans in order to keep them cool,” Nicolucci recalled. “And they were using the basket, or the grate of the fan as a shield, the blades as machetes, the pole as a battering ram.”
That disturbance was turned back in a few minutes with some guards and prisoners sustaining minor injuries, he said.
The Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative legal group that fought to force the Pentagon to release the reports under the Freedom of Information Act, said it hopes the information brings balance to the Guantanamo debate.
One thing that caught my eye there…shower flip-flops?! Um…inhumane treatment of detainees…detainees with such things as shower flip-flops. Sheesh. Ask people who have seen prisons in places like Mexico and China as to whether or not they get such luxuries.