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An idea…  Might not be too new but still

I want to propose a law that stipulates that any religious organization that promotes anything that pretends to be based on a “deeply held religious belief” but is in reality a back door way to legally allow for discrimination based on sexual preferences that these churches and or organizations lose their non profit status. Boom – start fully paying all taxes on your property, your income, your everything…AND get audited annually for five years once your non profit stays goes away. If you are able to get the nonprofit status back, the audit dynamic stays in place for 5 years after to make sure everything is kosher. I mention this as I am reminded that some bakery business wanted to be allowed to not bake a cake for a couple getting married. It seems that they couldn’t find it in their heart to bake a cake for these folks as they happened to be a couple that was of the same gender. They said that it is against their deeply held regions belief that they simply couldn’t bake for them. Never mind that these same folks claim to be followers of Jesus. You know, the dude who hung out with prostitutes, beggars, lepers, and thieves. He felt it was exactly where he needed to be spending his time feeding these folks and washing their feet from time to time as well. But these folks can’t bake a flipping cake for these folks because they’re gay. Heaven forbid….

And let’s take a closer look at the dynamic of being a non profit religious organization. That means they are by default, getting federal funding or subsidies for their operations. As such, this means they are getting public money in a round about way. Public money means public scrutiny is in order. This scrutiny will come in the form of having all employees and board members submit to drug testing in order to maintain their non profit status. Seems reasonable to me if these groups are all advocating for drug testing for folks getting funding for things like food stamps and or funds for needy families. I would equate this with being in line with the equal application of law for all. Sounds like a 14th amendment case if ever there was one.

The second they start squawking about it being a violation of their privacy tell them that it’s simply a situation where the public’s need to know far out weighs their need for privacy and we are being good stewards of our nations resources.

Seeing as this concept of “deeply held religious beliefs” is the most recent rationalization for denying services to folks who may or may not be gay, my “deeply held religious belief” that obeying ALL of the 10 Commandments, any time anyone in these organizations is found to be in violation of one of the 10 Commandments, the non profit status is gone for the whole organization. Seems perfectly reasonable to me…

I’ll get to work on a few more of these ideas and post them this week. Feel free to send me some suggestions and to tell me of your “Deeply held religious beliefs” that are being ignored or possibly violated. Remember, it needs to be a “deeply held religious belief” in order to qualify for inclusion here. I am not limiting anyone here based on religion mind you but some of these organizations might want to not be so inclusive. No worries. Zen, Druids, Hindu, satanism, whatever your religion may be I am confident there is some deeply held religious belief that is being trampled by someone out there. Jump on this bandwagon and let’s get you properly protected from discrimination….

Just a quick thought or three…

Good Morning to all who have given me their time to read some of my random thoughts…

While I have been writing many things for many years, I am finally getting a little more organized in my writing and hopefully I will be better or maybe more efficient in how I utilize this space and more importantly, your time.  With that in mind, I am being bold and direct here in asking if there is some range of topics you might like me to explore on these pages.  While I admit to being somewhat wordy in anything I do write, I like to think I am equally competent in my efforts as well.  So with those disclaimers fully out there, suggest away and I will make every effort to explore the ideas offered to the best of my abilities.
I am also welcome to suggestions as to how to best utilize this WordPress site and app on my iPad Pro or my 13″ MBP.  I mention those 2 items shamelessly not as a product endorsement (Apple does not need my free advertising in any way shape or form)  but more to share a small insight to who I am.  I am a card carrying Mac – Apple slut and I pretty much loath anything Windows based.  I like Microsoft Word and the various other productivity applications as they are very effective in helping me get things done.  What I loath, and I mean LOATH is the machine that they are most often associated with in their day to day use.  I love my computer and I love working WITH my Apple stuff.  I hate working ON any of these devices if and when they are under the weather.  Those tasks are for the IT department and I am a company of me.  So on the rare occasion that my Apple something device is tits up, I call Apple support and they wave their magic wand and presto chango, it is fixed. I have owned a Mac – Apple something pretty much exclusively since 1984 and I have spent a total of $200 on repairs on these gadgets.  That’s 5 computers in some 30 plus years, many iPhones and or iPads along the way, and I have had to pay for one repair.  One.  And that was on a 27″ iMac that had the warranty and service plan expire about 3 months prior to the issue.  The issue was smoke and the source was a combination of lack of me tending to cleaning out the dust and the heat making for a wonderful little smoking event which killed the power supply.  The power supply replacement and labor included was a total of $200 and it was as good as new.  I did have multiple Windows based machines in the house during this same period and lost a few power supplies with them as well.  I was able to replace the dead power supply unit myself most times and the expense was not too terrible.  I think the most expensive unit was about $75 or so and that was for a Dell XPS gaming system with all sorts of bells and whistles.  Again though, the point here is multiple needed repairs and constant software disruptions over all those years on the Windows based machines and one repair on the Mac gizmos.  That is my basis for my Mac-Apple snobbery.  If any of you want to debate the overall flexibility and ease of making each machine exactly what you want, save your breath and or typing as I don’t care.  I am not one who wants to EVER open up any of my gadgets.  I want to open the box, go WOW and plug the bad boy in, and get to making things, writing things, surfing the web for things I should not be looking at, spending way too much time on Facebook, ESPN.com, CNN.com, and YouTube.  Beyond that, I’m good.  And to all you folks who know how to do those amazing things inside of a computer, thank god you are out there because for every one of you there are some 30 folks like me who have eyes that glaze over the instant you say “giga-smartz wazoo ram with a digi vidia turbo power through put bandwidth thingy” as if everyone knows exactly what you are speaking about.  I assure you, most folks want to run as far away from you as possible but they too know that while they may be able to turn on the tv in their living room, they still can not figure out how to connect their blue ray to record their favorite episode of The Big Bang Theory.  And I’m pretty sure most folks can’t record with their blu Ray machine but it’s coming soon…Just as soon as the Windows folks increase the DDRAM capacity on their tower machines with external whammy bars and internal snickers fritz rejuvenators.  With my Apple goodies, I don’t care.  I turn it on and I am one happy dude being all snob like knowing I paid 2 to maybe 3 times as much as the Windows folks.  And that’s ok.

OK, that paints the picture of who I am and how I look at some things.  Now feel free to suggest topics and we’ll see what happens next.  Later…Pete   

This Scares Me…

Just read a quote from Robert Kennedy. Here are some more of my thoughts if anyone is interested in a dialog on fear…

Why is this simple quote so difficult for folks to understand. The idea that fear is what serves as a foundation for how we interact as a society is terrifying. Ironic that I basically just used the idea of fear on steroids to try to make my point but irony aside, I am terrified. Not of any particular group or individual but of the path our country is seemingly embracing. By not saying no to continual racist actions, by not stopping choices made with little to no embracing of facts or truth, by simply standing on the sidelines allowing this growing parade of hate to grow louder, stronger, more powerful, I fear that our country is going to stop being grounded in hope. We will stop being that light on all of earth for people to gather and roll up their sleeves side by side working together toward a hope filled horizon. I try to teach my daughter that perfection is not a realistic goal in life. I see perfection as nothing more than an abstraction really and more often, I find the idea itself boring. Being excellent though is so much more inclusive. Why not aim for excellence in all we undertake as a society? I’m looking at this quote attributed to Robert F. Kennedy (RFK). Clearly, history has revealed him to be a most imperfect man. But in his shortened life of both extreme privilege and significant public service, I think he embraced a concept of excellence for all. Like RFK, I remain committed to that idea that together, side by side, strong and not strong, we as a country can find an excellence in each other worth celebrating. Challenge yourself and others around you to look for ways to work together and find ways to say YES in all we do instead of finding a rationale for a limiting, defeating, and hopeless NO..! When we are approached to stand up for our country, to identify areas that need our resources of money, work force, and time, find a way to say YES. It all starts with identifying this irrational fear, this narrow minded thinking process that immediately limits our possible options to overcome whatever challenge before us, to be seen for what it is in reality. How can a country so full of great people all of a sudden be seemingly defeated by groups of people because they follow a certain religion, because their skin is different, because they may be coming to our country from places with names we can not properly pronounce or can’t easily find on a map? The truth is that we can never be defeated by these folks who are different. And we never will be defeated by these new people, these different people. These folks are not a threat to us in any way. The real threat is from those that pray upon this fear. Don’t get me wrong. Fear is a very powerful force and is often used to motivate, or I should use the word manipulate here and all of the negative connotations that comes along with the word, manipulate. When we are manipulated through fear we stop processing information completely. Facts are no longer needed as we have all we need through emotion. And those that are tapping into those emotions are getting exactly what they want from us. They really do not want us to look at facts. They want to be in positions of power and so they tell us loudly and constantly that these immigrants are our problem. Refugees are dangerous people and they are determined to kill us. Guns are not dangerous and the government is going to take them away from us if we let them. We can’t let folks marry if they are of the same gender as that will destroy the fabric of our society and we can’t let that happen. All life is sacred so we can’t let folks have abortions. And the list of things that will destroy our society grows and grows and nothing changes.

I am legally blind and I have bought 3 firearms in the last 6 years for either hunting purposes or for simply having fun target shooting. I have been hearing that my guns are going to be confiscated since 2008 and no one has knocked on my door asking for them yet. I have known multiple folks over the years who have been in long term loving relationships with someone who happened to be of the same gender as the other person. I have shared meals with these folks, shared communion at church, worked as a volunteer with these folks helping neighbors who are dealing with homelessness multiple times with these friends countless times. And not once have I sensed a danger to my way of life. What I have sensed, what I have experienced on multiple times is the love of friendship and a shared willingness to be part of a solution to meet our community’s needs side by side.

You want to know what does scare me in my life? I am scared to see countless posters on the walls of neighborhood businesses announcing a fund raising dinner or band concert for a family that is over whelmed with medical bills as someone in their family has been diagnosed with cancer. With this reality they are facing insane bills that has destroyed their savings. And all too often these families already had some sort of medical insurance but it simply wasn’t enough. Why in our country do we know more than one family, more than 5 families, more than 10 families who have been financially destroyed due to illness? That scares me.

I am scared that at least once every 3 to 6 months there is a news story of a major highway bridge that has failed and there are multiple fatalities. There are stories of a train derailment caused by the track system rail bed was way behind in maintenance and the rail simply failed. That scares me.

I am sitting here looking at my son’s transcript from college as he is about 8 weeks away from graduating from college. He will have several thousand dollars in student loan debt that he must pay back. And he will over time because he is committed to meeting his responsibilities. But on the off chance he isn’t able to meet those obligations he will not be able to discharge this debt through bankruptcy. Why is it then that some businesses that received government subsidies through tax breaks or other incentives are allowed to be forgiven through bankruptcy if they encounter challenge later on and can’t meet their obligations? That scares me.

Why is it that when I hear of certain political groups scream that all life is sacred and abortion is wrong as it is killing life are all to often the same people who are fervent supporters of the death penalty and or the Stand your Ground laws? Where is ok that you are perfectly within your rights to shoot to kill someone for trying to steal your TV or your silverware but the same person will scream at the top of their lungs that it is morally wrong to allow for an abortion. These same folks often are saying that we should drug test all folks who get food stamps or other public assistance as they are living off the government dole. But then when a company asks for a tax break, that is the same group of people who say that it will create jobs. And these same folks will say that they need these tax breaks in order to be competitive. And then they offer jobs to folks at a minimum wage of less than $8.00 an hour. And they speak of being competitive. When was the last time any one of these corporate folks tried to live on $8.00 an hour and feel that they were being competitive in their world. I am all for folks maximizing their wages and their income. But that effort should not come at the expense of so many folks who are not able to “compete” on the same level. That scares me.

Why is it that our congress, our federal government, is so willing to commit our 18 to 35 year old population to war after war after police action and say that if you are not supporting our troops, then you are not a true patriot? How are they supporting our troops by not fully funding the Department of Veterans Affairs? How is it support when so many of our troops wait ridiculous amount of time for appointments, folks in positions of authority lie outright about the wait times for appointments, the veterans die from illness or they lose all hope and commit suicide, and then these same politicians scream when the President doesn’t attend every veteran funeral and say he isn’t a real Commander in Chief because he doesn’t properly salute the Marine standing outside Marine One? One missed salute constitutes no support for veterans? That scares me.

So let’s wrap this up as I think the biggest thing that scares me is the money. In Hollywood or in politics or in life, when one wants to find out the real motivation for how things happen or why they happen, it is wise to “follow the money” to get the answers you want and or need. I suggest that anyone who is afraid of refugees, afraid of someone of color, a religion that is different, ask yourself where is the money in what I am hearing or what I am being told by these talking heads? Why can’t we fully fund college education? Why can’t we fully fund public healthcare? Why can’t we pay for the needed repairs to our infrastructure? What is stopping the United States from taking care of the challenges we are facing right now? I think that money is making people do some very heinous things in our society and until we identify this love of money, we will have to learn to live with a fear of fear for a very long time. And you know what? That scares me. A lot.

Empty and Alone vs. With and complete…?

So how do I get past this ever-present cycle of a day here or a day there when I feel completely lost and completely empty?  I am, for the most part, pretty content to be who I am and for the most part, I am happy.  That’s said, I want to have someone in my life that I look forward to seeing and that person sees me the same way.  Why is that so elusive for me?  I seem to know folks who are continually in relationships and yet I am stuck in neutral.  Here I sit looking at another holiday season with no one to have near my side sharing in the joys of the season.  The joys of my children are amazing and I watch them alone.  I have no one to walk hand in hand with downtown looking in shop windows and no one to curl up with on the couch under a blanket watching a movie and not seeing it past the first 15 minutes because we got lost in the moment…  I want to be clear, I am not desperate here but the emptiness of this passion is intense and demands expression.  I go to various e-dating sites and while they seem to promise the world, they deliver anxiety and false hope more often than not.  I use mostly the free ones and they certainly deliver what I paid for most of the time.  When I have subscribed to the pay versions, the hope is higher and I feel the let down is stronger if possible.  Why do folks list themselves as emotionally available when they clearly are not?  I am available.  I am not perfect and don’t claim to be in any sense.  I am full of bad habits and bad choices in my past but I have so much to offer someone who wants to be the center of my world.  I want the sun rising and falling on my special lady friend and I want to be the same for them.  Is that wrong?  No, it isn’t and yet here I am alone, again….still.

 

I tried this relationship dance again a year ago and thought that I had found a happy ever after only to have it yanked out from under my feet and snatched from my eyes and heart in an instant.  We fit so well together after many years of nothing and I was so amazed to be in love again.  I was thrilled to feel anything even and while I will cling to that reality, it is the same thing that I fear and what makes me all the more lost and empty again today.  I had the brass ring in my hand once more after years of nothing and when I went to turn it in for my forever prize, it was denied.  I was told all of a sudden that I wasn’t it and I was not the person that she wanted to see every day after all and oh yeah, she wasn’t really ready for a relationship after all so, the classic, “it’s me and not you” thing on top of all the pain as well was thrown my way.  To see her from time to time makes things somewhat palatable in the physical sense so I dare not complain but it only magnifies the emotional loss more.  I wanted to have both the physical and the emotional and everything in between but she didn’t and I am the one left alone, again.

 

What I want is to walk hand in hand, sometimes….often times literally, but emotionally as well.  Even when apart, I want to be wanted and I want to be desired.  I want to put someone first in all of my choices.  I want to love someone as much as I love my God.  And I want that in return.  I want to share this love openly with anyone who knows me.  Not as a sign of ownership but as a clear demonstration of who I am in life.  Everyone who knows me now understands how much I love my children.  That joy that comes through when I speak of them and their world that just clearly says, I love them, is what I want in an adult relationship with a lady.  I want anyone who knows me to simply know I love her unconditionally.  And I want that in return.  For the rest of all of my days.  No more break ups for me.  I want a sense of forever that only God can take away through death.

 

I am half tempted to post this to my one e-dating site and see what happens.  Maybe, just maybe there is someone out there who will read it from beginning to end and then take a chance and share something of themselves electronically.  A picture, an email, a phone call….who knows…  Something that leads to holding hands and making something wonderful happen.

 

I am not a drop dead good looking man but I smile often and laugh daily.  I need to lose weight so I am determined to be less of a man by a pound or two every week for then next year or so.  Maybe more depending on where that takes me.  I try to move around as best as I can but due to too many aches and pains and being mostly blind, I move cautiously at best these days.  But I move.  I walk everywhere I need to go and if it is farther away then I use a bus, a cab, or someone who is willing to give me a ride.  I have had to deal with the humble nature of not driving for some 8 years now so whoever you are, you will need to understand that I will be the cheerful navigator in all of our travels.  And I do ask for directions when needed.  I am retired due to all of these aches and pains but I am not a stay at home guy if I can avoid it.  See above on the cabs and bus rides for explanation.   I talk too much and that is something that I am working on…  sort of.  I write constantly.  In case you hadn’t already noticed.  My guess is that no one will get this far into a profile description so I am just going to be as honest as possible and to anyone who sees this and mentions it in a response, bonus credit for paying attention to details.  I enjoy sex and want to have an active sex life.  I am not trying to get laid.  Been there and done that and it only leads to that empty and lost feeling that I am trying to avoid in the first place.  But an active sex life to me is an extension of that being wanted and wanting.  I want to begin thinking about sex with my lady early in the morning.  Not like…”Oh, lets do it tonight” but more like….I am so looking forward to being home this evening.  And then giving a gentle caress and or hug as we get ready for the day…  a gentle back or neck rub while showering maybe.  A kiss on the neck as we part for the day.   Then in the evening, as we eat dinner prepared together, we share the day with each other and with our kids if they are present.  We share the joys and the concerns of all.  We might even say a prayer together be it grace or something more specific.   They we clean the kitchen together, bumping elbows, sometimes accidently and sometimes on purpose.  We hug, we dance to a song on the radio in the living room, we go for a walk with the kids.  We do a chore together even.  And then when the kids are in bed at a decent hour, we can sit together in the hot tub maybe.   Or curl up on the couch for a movie like I mentioned earlier.  If we watch the whole movie, great.  If we get past the credits and decide to make way to the bedroom, that’s ok too.  I am not in a rush for these things but I am eager to be clear.  I want them.  Often.  Not everyday but I want to intimacy daily.  And most importantly when it comes to matters of a sexual nature, I want to be able to openly talk about this.  I will giggle at times as I am still a nerd and not worldly perhaps so I will be nervous.  But I want to be able to communicate what I want and what I don’t want and what I am willing to try.  With such openness, anything is possible when two people are committed to being honest.

 

Ok, and now for the conversation on my faith.  I am a very God centered person.  My faith is very important to me and I want to share that with anyone I meet.  I want to be clear I am not preachy and I do not judge.  I do preach for real sometimes though so be advised.  I am a lay minister and learning more and more about what I think God wants and expects of me.  The more I learn, the more I realize I do not know.  I will be a life long learner of all things theological.  Anyone that I will be with will need to be able to share in that actively.  I am not going to tell anyone that I have the answers.  I don’t.  What I do have are more questions and I am searching for more answers.  I volunteer a great deal of my time trying to make a difference is the world.  My thought is that while I may preach a Sunday sermon every once in a while, I want my life to preach a sermon of love and hope every day.  I want to be a blessing to someone at least once a day.  Any lady that I would be with will need to be open to such thoughts and ideas but does not need to be a saint.  I sure as hell am not a saint.  Pun intended.  I am just a man trying my best to be good and do good and teach good to my kids and to anyone one I meet.  It’s the best I have and that is good enough for me and I like to think it is good enough for God too.  He knows what is in my heart so I don’t need to preach that part at all.  I just try.  Enough said there.

 

All of this rambling has left me feeling a little better as I picture in my mind that special lady who is out there.  Someone with a smile and a heart as big as the Grand Canyon.  Be you younger or older than me is not that important.  What is important is that you consider yourself alive and deserving of something special.  Be able to give of yourself to be a part of something bigger is what I want.  I want you to be wanting that too of me.  Together, we can do anything….miracles really do happen if we allow them to happen.  I know they happen everyday.  Are you the answer to my prayer?  We won’t know unless you take a chance for yourself and me by responding.

 

Peace and Grace to You…. Pete

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