Tragedy is a fact of human life, or at least of human history. What seems to us to be terrible outcomes and heartbreak happen weekly somewhere in the world. Harm and death to thousands caused by disasters, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, accidents, hurricanes, tornadoes, "Acts of God," so many they run together in our minds.
Is God even aware? Is he involved? And if he is involved, why does a loving and just God allow human suffering? Does he care?
Tragedies are sometimes explained by a Christian worldview in terms of "theodicy." It's an attempt to reconcile the character of God--omniscience, omnipotence, love, righteousness--with human degradation, pain, evil, and suffering, including that which emanates from nature's weather.
Theodicy is a word Christians should learn. It helps bring perspective, meaning, and perhaps understanding to tragedy. Think with me some more on this topic:
Many media outlets are using the term “anti-gay” for certain presidential candidates’ convictions that homosexuality is immoral. The term is, or at least could be, misleading.
It’s misleading because one who believes homosexuality is wrong is not necessarily ipso facto “anti-gay,” meaning against people who choose or live a homosexual or lesbian lifestyle.
To be honest, though, it could be. It is unfortunately true that some people who believe homosexual behavior is wrong also reject, demean, or otherwise dismiss gays or lesbians. It’s even sadly true that some of these people hate and a few have done violence to gay or lesbian people. None of this is justifiable under any moral code, of course, but still, these people act as immorally in different ways as they accuse gays and lesbians of acting sexually.
What I object to, though, is media’s easy equation of convictions about the morality of homosexuality with anti-gay attitudes and behaviors. Because one believes homosexuality is wrong, as I noted above, does not mean one is anti-gay—any more than a person believing heterosexual adultery is wrong makes him or her “anti-straight.” This logic is illogical.
I know many people who hold deep-seated views, based upon their religious convictions, that homosexuality in any of its forms is immoral, wrong, and a sin. Nearly all of these people are also compassionate toward those who involve themselves in homosexuality, and I don’t know anyone who wants to make homosexuality a crime. Nor do any of these people want to deny gays or lesbians their civil liberties, available and guaranteed to them like any other American—including immoral heterosexuals.
This means, for example, that one can believe homosexuality is immoral and improper while at the same time working productively with persons involved in gay or lesbian relationships. They can believe homosexuality is wrong yet be friends with, even appreciate the talents and personality of, gay or lesbian people, just like most of them do with heterosexuals involved in any number of immoral activities.
So it is inaccurate for media automatically to describe someone as “anti-gay” simply because he or she believes homosexuality is immoral.
As long as media persists in this inaccurate portrayal it does a disservice to the person being so-labeled, misleads the American people, and sacrifices the reputation of the media involved
Why can international airline businesses build multi-million dollar jets capable of flying 450 people safely to the other side of the world but cannot install in Inter-Com that works?
In the last few hours on two huge jets, Delta and Cyprus Air, I never understood a word the pilot said over the com line and I missed much of what the flight attendants said on one of the jets. I also experienced this the past three weekends on trips to KS, PA, and OR. What gives?
If safety is a factor in what the pilot or flight attendant is saying, than we are not safe because we can’t hear at all, the sound is muffled, or it squawks. If customer service is the issue than we aren’t well served because we weren’t able to learn anything.
I mean, really, I’m not making this up. I experience this regularly. Sometimes it is so bad you hear nothing more than a whisper of static. Don’t maintenance people check com lines? Don’t flight attendants report they can’t hear and, if so, presumably the guy in 27B can’t hear either?
And if your company made and installed these communications devices wouldn’t you want to make them top of the line?
Well, what can I say other than to lodge a viewpoint? It would be laughable it if weren’t more important than an annoyance.
My recommendation? Fix the communications systems before “We have a problem, Houston” becomes more than a cliché.
Litter has bugged me for as long as I can remember. There’s something about trash strewn across God’s handiwork that grates on the eye, mind, and soul.
I’m strong on this but I don’t think goofy. If your cast-off stuff is truly biodegradable than I don’t get too worked up. Although even these kinds of products, depending upon where they are discarded, can harm the local ecosystem; that’s why it’s illegal, or should be, to jettison untreated effluvium from your boat’s tanks into inland or coastal waters.
Littering is, in my estimation, an act of disrespect, immaturity, and irresponsibility. To me, this seems like common sense. Here’re some more thoughts on the matter:
Men and women have worked together since Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thing is, though, with them--they were husband and wife.
To state the obvious: most people at work are not married. So what do proper relationships between men and women in the workplace look like for those who are not married? By "proper relationships," I mean moral, professional, and appropriately friendly and productive relationships.
In the past thirty years or so "gender relations" has become a much bigger concern for businesses and organizations. In some ways we've become more aware. We've finally awakened to some serious problems and begun to try to correct them for the benefit of everyone but usually especially for women. In other ways we've become hyper-sensitive to the point where some "fixes" seem worse than the problem. For corporations, gender relations in the workplace has become so much policy. But who can write a policy for every eventuality?
Shouldn't adult professionals police themselves on such common sense matters? Well, yes they should, but some men and women are not mature, some are naughty, and some are downright nasty. All this means the corporation, to protect itself from legal liability and to protect its employees from unwanted and harmful interactions with the opposite (or maybe the same) gender have had to develop H.R. policies.
Then there's the issue of what used to be acceptable--maybe, for example, truly innocent friendly hugging--isn't wanted or isn't always acceptable any more.
During my days as a university administrator our institution and other similar ones had to address gender issues, including appropriate interaction. Out of those experiences I wrote this recently published article: "Men and Women In The Workplace." It's not the last word, not even my last word, on the subject. But it does address some basic concerns, share what I learned, and make some recommendations.
One thing's for sure, the question of appropriate male/female interaction in the workplace is never going to go away.
Americans still think they can get away with it. They still think they, unlike all civilizations that have gone before, can somehow take gambling into their bosom and not get burned. Not going to happen.
Since 1988 with the enactment of the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Americans have chased bad bets like the most obsessive of problem gamblers. We can’t get enough of it even though it drains local economies, sends families into bankruptcy, feeds graft, greed, and corruption, and results in higher costs for local governments responding to the social pathologies gambling encourages.
Gambling is as bad a bet as it’s ever been. No one ultimately wins in a casino except the House, the owners. And now the owners are in trouble.
A number of casino companies are wrestling with debt like so many cities and states, not to mention the Federal government. Bad times have combined with bad investments (bad bets?) to produce bad debt for casino owners. The casinos expanded when they should have contracted. They “let it ride” when they should have pulled in their money and gone home.
Let’s hope more than a few of these centers of debt-production go under from a taste of their own medicine.