A lecture that should be remembered

I enjoy a good sermon on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I rarely hear a good sermon in person.  Sermons that I find to be worthwhile are almost always found online.  The Community Christian Church in Springfield, MO has raised the bar regarding what I consider to be a good sermon.

Pastors, who deliver good sermons, are individuals who are good speakers.  They provide information in a way that makes you want to listen and leaves you wanting more.  I found Dr. Roger Ray at CCC in Springfield through my interest in lectures given by Bishop John Shelby Spong and Dr. Ray is such a speaker.

For today and next Sunday, I am not able to watch Dr. Ray’s sermon because he in the UK, delivering guest sermons and lectures for the next 2 weeks.  Today, as I was checking the CCC YouTube channel, I came across a lecture that Bishop Spong delivered to the CCC in 2013.  I had not seen this particular lecture, but Bishop Spong’s point of view is familar to me.  I decided that his lecture would be my sermon for today.

If you are so inclined, you might consider watching this lecture and try to do so with an open mind.  I recognize a lot of truth in what Bishop Spong discusses.  I know people who dislike Bishop Spong because he challenges the way they have been taught to believe.  What he teaches makes much more sense than what I and others have been taught and are continuing to be taught.

I have had enough.

I have had enough of hearing what President Trump is doing or what he has done.  Trump gave a speech at the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree that was completely inappropriate for an audience of mostly children.  One of his recent tweets advised everyone that he will ban transgender persons from serving in the military.  There is clear and convincing evidence that Trump and/or his associates engaged with the Russian government in order to alter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.  When is enough enough?

I knew what kind of a man Donald Trump was before he was elected.  None of what he has done or is doing is a surprise to me.  What is a surprise to me is that there are so many people in this country, who continue to support Donald Trump and what he is doing.

I have reached a point of sensory overload.  Feel free to let me know when President Trump has been removed from office.  Until that time, I would prefer to not hear about him at all.  He hasn’t accomplished anything of value to the citizens of this country during his first 6 months in office.  Clearly, I’m not missing anything if I tune him out.  Maybe if more people did, like the news media, he would become bored and would go away of his own accord.  Now that would be news I’d love to hear.

Healthcare is a difficult choice for most in the U.S.

I read an article in this morning’s newspaper that rang true for me.  The substance of the article described how, in the U.S., we spend more on healthcare than any other country, yet we have a shorter life-expectancy than the other countries that have universal healthcare.  This situation causes most citizens in the U.S. to make a difficult choice.

When examining healthcare in the U.S., you can divide the population into 3 categories.  Those, who live at or below the poverty line, can receive some government assistance, which gives them access to some healthcare without spending money they don’t have.  Those, who are considered to be wealthy, can afford to pay for healthcare that their insurance doesn’t cover.  These days in the U.S., there is a lot that insurance doesn’t cover.

Then there are those, who comprise what is known as the middle class.  Those of us who make enough to pay most or all of our routine expenses, the people who can occasionally save enough to take a vacation, make home improvements, or perhaps buy a new car.  When someone in the middle class in the U.S. develops a health issue, that person has a decision to make.  Do you seek healthcare and, many times, go into debt to pay for that healthcare?  After your treatment, maybe you’re better, maybe not.  It’s good if you get your health back, but now you’re in debt to the point that you can only work to pay your debt and do nothing more?  What if after your treatment, you’re not better, yet you still have a crushing debt to deal with?

The shorter life-expectancy in the U.S. can be explained very simply.  Many people are choosing to forgo seeking healthcare until their health situation is dire.  The trade-off is that more time is spent being able to enjoy their life, even though their life may be shorter due to illness.  Do you enjoy a shorter life, or do you live longer in the misery of debt?  Placing the majority of its citizens in such a quandary does not speak well of a country that boasts of its greatness.

The name of this country no longer fits.

Ever since the events of last year’s presidential campaign and then the ensuing election results, I have been depressed with any news report that has anything to do with politics.  Something in this country changed dramatically when Donald Trump became a candidate for president.  The United States of America is no longer united, and I doubt it ever will be again.

In December 2015, while campaigning for president, Donald Trump lashed out at President Obama for playing golf so much.  Trump claimed that he wouldn’t have time to play golf.  However, during the first month of Trump’s presidency, he has played golf on 2 weekends.  President Obama was president for 4 months before he took a break to play golf.

In December 2015, Donald Trump derided President Obama about executive orders, claiming “I don’t even think he tries anymore.  I think he just signs executive actions.” In President Obama’s first 3 weeks in office, he signed 14 executive orders.  Trump, during the same period, signed 12 executive orders.

In April 2016, Donald Trump, talking about President Obama, said “We’ve had a president, who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies.” Since taking office, and before, Donald Trump has insulted countries like Mexico, Australia, and Sweden, while speaking fondly of Russia.  On February 4, 2017, Donald Trump was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly and was asked by O’Reilly, “Do you respect Putin?” Trump replied, “I do respect him.” O’Reilly followed up with the observation, “Putin’s a killer.” Trump’s reply?  He responded by saying, “A lot of killers, there are a lot of killer’s.  What?  You think our country’s so innocent?”  This response from Trump reminds me of the type of response I get when talking with a Trump supporter.  Instead of addressing the topic at hand, they deflect and point out that there are others, who are the same or worse than their guy.

In July 2015, during an interview, Donald Trump chastised President Obama for taking vacations.  He said, “When you’re in the White House for a limited period of time, I’d be there all the time.  Working, working.  I wouldn’t even have time to comb my hair the way I comb it.  I’d probably just have to comb it back.” During Trump’s first month in office, he has taken 2 trips to his resort in Florida, all at taxpayer expense.

In October 2011, Trump tweeted, as he so often does, “Does @BarackObama ever work? He is constantly campaigning and fundraising — on both the taxpayer’s dime and time — not fair!” Obama filed for re-election in April 2011, more than 2 years into his first term as president.  Donald Trump, on the other hand, filed for re-election with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration.  This past weekend, Trump held a re-election rally in Florida, at taxpayer expense.  On Saturday, during this rally, Trump had been president for all of 29 days.

There is nothing I can do about the fact that we have a fraud for a president.  I didn’t vote for him and find it unfathomable that anyone would vote for him.  What is clear is that there are a lot of citizens of the United States of America, who love this guy.  There are local governments, who are standing up to the hatred that Trump is peddling.  What is disheartening is the response from Trump supporters to some of the news stories about the push-back against Trump.  Some of the comments I read this morning that were directed against elected officials, who are resisting Trump’s hatred, were enough to make me feel physically sick.

What we are is the Divided States of America, not the United States.  We have gone past the point of being able to find common ground.  There is little common ground to find.  There is nothing that will cause me to love Donald Trump, to hate African-Americans, to hate Hispanic-Americans, to hate Native Americans, to hate people who follow Islam.  What is this America First crap?  We are all human beings and we all live on the same planet, Earth.

My mother loves Donald Trump.  This makes for interesting conversation when I visit her.  We have nothing to discuss.

The paradox of NBC’s Timeless

I am a time travel junkie.  I loved the Time Tunnel from years ago.  I was sad when Continuum was canceled. I have read a number of time travel novels, some good and some not so good.  When I learned that NBC had a new time travel series, I eagerly awaited its debut.  Unfortunately, I was not impressed with Timeless.

The concept of time travel is hard to wrap your mind around.  If I were to travel backward in time and do something that changes history, which directly affects me, how would I have been able to time travel in the first place?  I was pleased with how Continuum dealt with this paradox.  If you went back in time and changed history, going forward again to your original time would be useless because the you, who traveled through time in the first place, would not exist in that time line.  The pilot episode of Timeless did not handle this paradox very well.

In NBC’s Timeless, several people travel back in time to the day the Hindenburg caught fire and crashed.  Two groups make this time jump; the first intending to change history, and the second trying to stop the first group.  In the process, the Hindenburg ultimately crashes and burns, but not in the same way that is in our history books.  When one of the main characters returns to her originating time period, she learns that her mother, who had been very ill, was now completely well.  She also learns that the change in history has resulted in the fact that her sister was never born.

Here’s my problem.  The main character has returned to an altered present time.  Her mother asks her where her engagement ring is?  In this altered present, this character is apparently engaged, of which she has no recollection of being engaged.  This character can’t just return to this altered time line as the same person.  In the altered time line, she was apparently born.  However, since the time line change resulted in her sister never being born, it’s not likely that she would have time-traveled in the same manner as in the original time line.  It’s true that I’ve only seen the first episode, but this paradox, should it remain, will lose me as a viewer.

In the series Continuum, Kiera Cameron was transported forward to her original time period after history had been changed.  She was able to see herself in the new time line as someone who never traveled through time.  The paradox, found in the Timeless pilot, is not part of Continuum.

I imagine the average viewer will have watched Timeless last week and may or may not have enjoyed it.  Only a time travel junkie would analyze it as I have.  What I saw from the series Continuum was a script that was given some serious thought.  It seems to me like the script for Timeless was, perhaps, written too quickly.