Author: Noel

The danger of exclusivity

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I drive down the street and I see another car with a bumper sticker that says : “There is only one” with an American flag on it…

Then I ask myself “only one what…?”

People from this “American” culture have learned to believe that they are unique… special… exclusive … The same thing occurs with people who have adopted an exclusive way of perceiving their race, culture, religion, ect.

It is dangerous to insist that whatever we want to represent us is the “one and only”.   It conpartmentalizes us.

It divides us.  Makes us proud.  Puts us on a pedestal. 

It creates an “us versus them ” mentality.   It makes us arrogant.

When we choose to believe that the divine being we put our faith in is the only one,

When we choose to think that the government we are governed by should govern all other lands,

When we choose to adopt a way of life, and believe it is the best one,

And when we choose to use a particular way of perceiving the world, and believe is the ultimate purpose in life,

then we set ourselves for failure.  We start to crumble as human beings.

And we stop being free.

Being frank about religion

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I am going to share what my thoughts have been about practicing organized religion.

This may be offensive to some of my readers… but that is a choice.

Watching sports on TV, I notice  some players kneeling down as if praying when

scoring points.  it is a common scene in some games.  But the reality is, what are they

trying to show?  That their concept of the Almighty, Supreme Being, or Higher Power

is granting them the joy of scoring points in a game? Why would an all powerful being

intervene in an insignificant athletic event?

I have heard other people claim that “God” has given them the message or sign that

they so much wished for.  “It came from God” or “God told me to do this.”  What a

dangerous and glamorous way of claiming that the Almighty is on their side!

Yet, there are others who I have witnessed saying that certain unfortunate events happen

because of “sin” and, therefore, it is a punishment from God.   How grandiose

and arrogant can some religious people be? Not to mention judgmental.

Is this the image that Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Teresa,  the  Dalai Lama , and other religious

figures have taught us to practice?

Still there are others who claim that , because the Bible says so, then it must be true,

in spite of some contradictions and different interpretations given to some of its verses.

Some of us can be very narrow minded, simply to continue to attempt to nourish the ego.

Yes, religion exists to feed the ego.  It is still practiced in order to maintain control of those who

are still insecure about the purpose of their lives.  So some of us desperately try to attach

to a particular organized sect and doctrine while trying to make sense of our chaotic lives.

It is one of many ways to try to survive in this world.   Just like joining a political party, sports team,

ethnic group, profession, and every other social group that exists in our societies. We enjoy

worshipping that which we think can “save us” and represent our way of thinking.  We worship

gods, saints, famous athletes, political leaders, celebrities, and even commonly recognized

fictitious characters in order to maintain a strong ego.  In order to keep us from facing our

true selves.

How coward and fearful can we be? We hide behind masks.  We pretend we are certain

about who we are.  But we are far from the truth…. if there is such a thing.

English only?

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So what if people don’t speak English while in the United States?  Would that make them less welcoming and not deserving to live in this country?   I have a big problem with people glorifying aspects of their culture, specifically the dominant language.   If you have seen my recent posts, you probably noticed how disturbed I feel with all the political propaganda that regards the United States as exceptional and unique.  I must say, United States is not exceptional (and the US is not the only “America” either).  I recognize that this statement may offend some readers.  But the simple fact that I am posting this post should indicate that I don’t care if people choose to feel offended. Please click the following links regarding discussions about a candidate speaking a language other than English in the political arena:

I assume that those who hold an egotistical and superior image about their “American” culture would probably agree with these discussions.  They probably agree with the statement that English is  “kind of a unifying aspect of the nation …. that is understood by all.” The language that is understood by all is not a specific uttered speech, but the meaning behind it, such as love and compassion.   For example, should Bibles be written only in English for it to be effective in sending a message in the United States?  Is English the only language that would make every family functional?  Yes, it is the dominant language and it is a great asset when looking for a job… but it is not the only language.

What really unifies a nation is a common goal for peace, improved economy, equality, and affordable insurance. Not a language.

Why are some people so afraid of accepting the diversity that makes this country truly great?

We Have Failed

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What are we?  Are we humans… ?  Or are we blood thirsty animals who fight each other, while some of us turn our backs and pretend it is not our concern and, therefore, somebody else’s fault?  When I saw the images of migrants trying to escape wars for a better life; images of families with children; and most of them dying in land and sea; my heart broke into pieces.  People fleeing war, poverty, political repression, trudging over deserts and back roads, with only the clothes on their backs; packed into stadiums, boats, detention centers; arriving exhausted, or dead, on Mediterranean shores.

When I saw the picture of the toddler’s lifeless body on the shore, my heart simply shattered.   The following videos illustrate it better than I can:

Crisis in Syria

Toddler dies and his father mourns

And here we are in the United States arguing about whether to let immigrants cross our borders illegally or not.  Not exactly the same scenario, but similar goals for a better life.  Are some of them criminals who come to break the laws?  Yes they are.   But we have to be careful and not let the evil intentions of some people  dictate our overall attitude of the majority who are simply trying to find a better way of life.  It is easy to label and categorize a whole group of people.  It is easy to simply put a label on them to justify our comfortable lives.

We fail terribly to choose to perceive ourselves as human beings.  We have failed to treat each other as we would like to be treated.  Instead, we prefer to have a narrow mind set and focus only on that which is convenient for us.

As a human race, we have failed.  We have yet to learn to look at humanity as a whole, and start to look at each other as fellow human beings.  It feels as if this world has not done enough to make a significant change.  There is a lot more to learn.

Like the father of the dead toddler said “I don’t want anything else from this world.”

“Get out of my country…!” : Is America Great?

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“Get out of my country..” says an ignorant man to a US citizen. What country? The “great” America…? You tell people who are different than you and who don’t have a similar background to “get out of your country”? If America is about dividing people whose ancestors have been born in this country from people who were born in another country but who are residents or US citizens, and deport them back to their ancestors’s country, then America is not great.  If America is about deporting those who ‘cross the boundaries illegally” , then America is not great.

This is the problem with some who call themselves “Americans.”  This is the problem with nationalism. Holding on to the self defeating idea  that countries have boundaries that must not be crossed.  It is the “us against them” mentality. The “legal” versus the “illegal” way of thinking.

This is the problem with dividing, compartmentalizing, and labeling people because of personal biases. A country (as well as ethnicity, race, patriotism) is a made up idea, like most ideas, which separates us as human beings.  Believing that “we have a country” and others must stay out of our country,  is a delusion that feeds our egos. There is truly no boundaries… no borders… no lines, except in our heads.

Jorge Ramos is told “Get out of my country”

Guys, would you feel embarrassed buying feminine products for your ladies?

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The other day, my wife texted and asked me if I would feel embarrassed to buy feminine products for her at the grocery store. I thought about it for a second and then responded  by texting that I would not mind.  I never buy  this kind of stuff for her, but if she needed it, then I would buy it with no problem.   So she texted me back with a smiling face with loving hearts.
In another time, I think I would feel embarrassed, but after being married for so many years, I don’t have that much “insecurity” anymore. I would feel worse if I am in an isle in front of birth control products or in a book store looking at books about intimate relationships or romance.
I wonder, do other guys feel embarrassed if they are asked to buy feminine products? And if they do, what is the source of their embarrassment? What about  holding the ladies’ purse while they use the public restroom?   If we guys are sure of who we are and what we are, why do we sometimes worry about what other people think?

Any thoughts…?

Help! Wife wants to go to church!

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I almost had a panic attack… not really.    But seriously, I was speechless when my wife expressed the interest in going to church tomorrow.  I asked myself, “is it because it’s Easter Sunday?” Which is common to people who live religious lives, but not truly dedicated to “church life.” I used to criticize people who go to church only on special occasions, like Easter and Christmas Day.

Now I am one of those people.

However, I don’t even like going to church on special days. I just don’t. I have evolved in my spiritual life significantly.  You can read more about my journey in Living the Kingdom blog. To me (and this is my honest opinion), it is a waste of time going to church. This post is not about religion or spirituality.  I am just expressing my opinion and disapproval of an activity I used to do regularly because of tradition. It was a norm to go to church at least once a week. It was part of the culture and family tradition.   But I started researching, reading, and questioning to the point that attending a religious event became the same as going to a sports or political event. They all serve an “idol” and are based an ideology.

I don’t mean to offend anyone (although feeling offended is a choice).  Again, I am just sharing my thoughts about a tradition that many people still follow and they have a right to do.  But I personally don’t think it is worth my time.

So I guess I will have to accompany my wife to this place that I truly don’t want to go to.  I am not always going to do what I want, am I?

What do I rather do?  I rather go help feed the homeless.  I rather go visit people who are sick.  I rather call those who are lonely and distant. Yes, that is what I rather do.  Because, after all, isn’t church a group of people doing certain things, instead of a building?

Just a thought.