Talking Heads

From the Urban Dictionary (urbandictionary.com), the top definition for “Talking Head”:

A “Talking Head” is someone who never stops talking. They will corner you by your car after a long day’s work to tell you gossip about the neighbors or to ask you about the details of your day, so they can distort it and spread it throughout the neighborhood. Not all Talking Heads are malicious, but all talking heads are idiots and time-wasters. Over a year, you can lose many precious hours cornered by a Talking Head. – As defined by Ian De La Rosa, from September 19, 2013

On Quora (quora.com), I found the following “definition” of the term “Talking Heads” – and I have to say that, in my opinion, he absolutely nailed it!

“Talking heads,” as an idiom, refers to individuals pontificating a certain creed, ideology, or kindred set of beliefs without critically analyzing the context and substance of their statement. In essence, these individuals are “spokespeople” or pundits representing an ideologue, movement, or other memetic process. Its usage, from my experience, is as an invariably derogatory epithet that coalesces these “spokespeople” into a clique of intellectual stagnation and coagulation which fails to grasp or address any opinion to the contrary of the orthodoxy promulgated by the talking heads. – Michael Alvis, November 27, 2015

“Talking heads” are everywhere. On TV and in social media, they mix actual news with political agendas and twist things out of context. We can find any point of view – from the blantantly radical and violent (both Left and Right) broadcasts, to knee-jerk reactions full of vitriole and inflammatory language, to orchestrated calls to arms (literal and figurative), to carefully thought out commentaries meant to encourage and to inform. I would love to see more of the last! James says:

“For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man**, able to bridle the whole body as well. …..So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. ……With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” – JAMES 3:2‭, ‬5‭-‬6‭, ‬9‭-‬10 NASB

(**There is and was and will be only One Perfect Man, the person of Jesus Christ, Who never stumbled in anything He said.)

We can easily find ourselves becoming individual “Talking Heads,” if you will, when we become too stuck and dogmatic in our views. As followers of Christ, it is so important to guard our hearts, so that our tongues don’t start sparks of resentment and animosity, causing the people we speak to to reject what we say. Our hearts and what we hold in our hearts, no matter how well we think we have it hidden and tucked away, affects every word that we utter. Listen to James! (He is much wiser than I can ever hope to be!)

“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” – JAMES 3:14‭-‬16 NASB

In Proverbs, we receive many instructions on the value of using wisdom and the teachings of our youth. Unfortunately, too many are growing up today without good teaching. (**This is not a dig against school teachers! I am referring to the Good teaching of the Scriptures.) In chapter 4, I believe the father referred to isn’t David, as you would expect from Solomon, but to GOD, the Father.

“Then He taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast My Words; Keep My Commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of My Mouth. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.” – PROVERBS 4:4‭-‬5‭, ‬23‭-‬24 NASB

When we search for God’s wisdom, and we learn His commandments and store them in our hearts, our tongues become more obedient…… That’s my goal! To remember I have two ears and one mouth, and to think before letting the words tumble out of my mouth.

Listen to Matt Maher “Lord I Need You” – My One defense, my Righteousness!

Religion Is Dirty Word

I don’t really like the word. It almost has a negative conotation to me, so I thought it would be good to do some research on the word. What does the word ‘religion‘ mean to you?

Merriam-Webster defines religion as

1 : (1)a : the state of a religious – a nun in her 20th year of religion. (1)b : the service and worship of God or the supernatural. (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.

2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.

3 : Archaic : scrupulous conformity. Conscientiousness.

4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

Examples of religion in a sentence:

*Many people turn to religion for comfort in a time of crisis.
*There are many religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion)

Even though they list ‘scrupulous conformity’ as the archaic definition, I feel like it’s the one meant by most people today when they speak of religion – like it’s a curse word, almost. ‘Scrupulous conformity‘. Do you even have a reason to believe as you do, or do you just go through the motions? Is just habit to go to mass / communion / confession / Sunday (or Saturday) service? Are you consciously pursuing a relationship with the LORD? This is a serious question, not just for the lay people, but for the church leaders as well. It doesn’t matter what your title is: from the newest Sunday School teacher and nursery worker to the most well-known evangelist, and even to the Pope – are you consciously pursuing a relationship with the LORD?

Having religion is much more than keeping the ‘rules’. It is more than being spiritual. To me, real religion, real spirituality, is the conscientiousness of consciously pursuing a relationship with the LORD.

“If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – JAMES 1:26‭-‬27 NASB (Read all of James chapter 1)

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC
Define hon·ornoun
  1. high respect; great esteem. “His portrait hangs in the place of honor”
  2. adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct. “I must as a matter of honor avoid any taint of dishonesty”

What has happened to honor? Aren’t we supposed to honor our government officials – if not the person, then the office? That’s how I was raised…. Unfortunately, politicians are making such a laughing stock of their positions and their office, and straying so far from our constitution and our laws, it’s becoming more and more difficult. So many think they are above the law. They can hold a position, an ideology, that they present as what we the people need – but it doesn’t apply to them.

I “should be” grateful that they want to oversee and control my life, providing me with what they think I need. Since when is that even remotely okay? I live in America. The United States of America. We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Some of my ancestors migrated here in the 1800’s and early 1900’s – and some were born here. We (almost) all have ancestors who came here to escape poverty and/or lack of freedom, and they came legally as immigrants. Some came as indentured servants, and some came as slaves – of all colors. When my ancestors arrived, they did several things: find jobs (not welfare), and learned the common – English – language.

Some became well-off financially, and some struggled, but I believe that regardless of their financial circumstances, they came and stayed because of the freedom afforded them. Freedom of speech, freedom to protect themselves instead of having to rely on the police or a police-state. Freedom to move around the country without governmental restrictions. These are all reasons that I choose to stay and protect my country.

You see, true immigrants don’t move to another country to make into a mirror of where they come from. We don’t move from one community to another in order to change it to what is familiar. We move so that we can find like-minded people whose ideas and beliefs mesh with our own.

Why do people come to America today? The majority, the ones who do it legally, do it because of the promise of freedom. They leave their country of origin because of oppression; because they believe they can have a better life here. They learn English and they find work.

I believe that we the people had better get a grip! Honor isn’t being taught in our homes or our schools, and it isn’t even up to our schools! We aren’t teaching our kids to honor their parents or other adults. We aren’t teaching them to honor our country, or our Constitution. We aren’t teaching them the principles this country was founded on – freedom and honor.

Without those, we are ruined.

God Is Still Talking Today!

“With the tongue we Praise our LORD and FATHER, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in GOD’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” – James 3:9‭-‬11 NIV

Even though it (finally) sunk into my head years ago that using the F-bomb and various other inappropriate words as adjective, adverb, and noun was a less than intelligent way to make my point (was that a diplomatic statement? LOL!) I still say things in anger and frustration that aren’t pleasing to God. My attitude and my actions can ‘call down curses’ even when I don’t say actual words. I need to pay more attention to my thoughts, because they are where my attitude, my actions, and my words originate. JESUS had some strong words to say about our thoughts:

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister , will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘ Raca* ,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” ….. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:21‭-‬22‭, ‬27‭-‬28 NIV (*’ Raca ‘ means name calling, insults)

Do these scriptures cause you to stop, and maybe hit the rewind button? They should! Today’s society disagrees with these teachings. Have you ever heard someone referred to as ‘eye-candy’? How about “I can look as long as I don’t touch.” “I could seriously hurt that person…” “You idiot.” We are seldom held accountable for our words, and as for our thoughts….. have you looked at the so-called comic books and the graphic novels that are prevalent, the tv sitcoms and dramas, the entertainment available – literally, everywhere? Cursing, sex, murder; lust, racial slurrs, violence….. and we wonder why disrespect is common and crime is up?

Thank you, JESUS, for calling me out through your recorded words. Help me to hold them close to my heart whenever my thoughts began to stray.

Remember the Sabbath and Keep It Holy

“On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” – Luke 23:56 ESV (Exodus 20:8-10)

Keeping it honest: I am not very good at resting on the Sabbath, or Sunday, as we observe it. With jobs and the demands of family, laundry piling up and cleaning needing done; meals to cook or restaurants to go to – requiring others to work; pastors and staff at church, employees at the stores we shop at …. how many of us really are resting? My family has always had busy Sundays for as far back as I can remember, because even before my Dad surrendered to preach, he was very active in the church. My Mom had the task of preparing breakfast for (eventually) six kids, getting us all dressed, herself dressed and ready to go – without any of us getting dirty, and to the church on time for Sunday School and morning service. No drama or stress there! Then “the girls” preparing lunch – which often included unexpected guests, cleaning up, afternoon activities; repeat the morning with supper, Training Union, Sunday evening service … not very restful! Not that I would really change much, except to somehow make it easier on my Mom!

Even now in a household of one (plus animals!) I find myself busy busy busy on the day of rest. It seems to be ingrained into us and it’s difficult to slow down. Working retail for many years, I found myself working more Sunday’s than I was off. Now, more often than not I seem to be at restaurants with family on Sundays after church. Personally, I would love to see more and more businesses follow the examples of Hobby Lobby, Mardels, and Chick-fil-A and close on Sundays, giving their employees the chance to have a day with family. But that’s just me ….. or is it just GOD …..

Chaos!

I read a great post by Debbie McDaniel (https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/debbie-mcdaniel) on chaos, and she referred to these 13 verses:

Just what I needed this morning!

The movers will be here tomorrow to load, roofers are here replacing the roof as I write this, the dogs are nervous messes because of the noise and the upheaval….. there’s more packing to do, and closings on both the house I’m selling and the one I’m buying is tomorrow. Oh, and did I mention that I have to be completely out of this house by 2:00 tomorrow, but the movers can’t deliver to the new (old) house until the next day? I thank GOD for my 19 year old nephew, who drove the 30 miles to my house (more than once!) to help me load all of my garden and lumber and tools and miscellaneous into a pod before the movers come. I am grateful to my brother-in-law, who made the same trip with his pickup, to take my plants and paints and crates of liquids and flammables that can’t be hauled by commercial carriers. (Yes, admittedly I have LOTS of stuff, even after some major downsizing…) He and my sister have offered a place for me to sleep tomorrow – I give thanks for my best friend, who is going to babysit the pups and Patrick the cat for a couple of days during the real chaos. Yikes.

GOD is Good, providing the help I need – even when it isn’t on my schedule! There’s even more than all this going on, but I know that He is in control, and I need to breathe (and sometimes, I just need to cry for a minute). JESUS said:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” – John 14:26‭-‬27 ESV

The Holy Spirit works through others to remind us that we are not alone in our grief and our chaos. Any time we have changes in our life, and especially when it is traumatic change, we are going to grieve. Our LORD understands completely!

“….. do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to GOD. And the Peace of GOD, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 ESV

He gets it. He knows how anxiety can creep in and how easily we get stressed out. He knows.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the Blood of Christ. For He Himself is our Peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility….. ” – Ephesians 2:13‭-‬14 ESV

Thank You, LORD, the GOD of the Universe and all of Creation, for understanding the chaos and anxiety I face, and for offering refuge from it. Amen.