Posts Tagged ‘Society’

Watching Breaking The Cycle on Netflix and how differently we treat inmates in the United States versus that of Norway as well as a prison in North Dakota which is working on changing their policies on how inmates are treated.
What struck me the most is inmates in Norway are treated like human beings. They did not have cells with bars but private bathrooms and refrigerators in their rooms. This was maximum security by the way.
Why do we handle inmates like animals only for the inmate now to respond like animals in return?  We Americans live in a society of revenge.
Of course if someone does something terrible to you or your family you would not be happy the offender was living in a comfortable, positive, and real rehabilitative environment.  Yes, we should be mad if that is the case.  Yet as one warden said “we are in the business of correction and rehabilitation, not revenge.”
Most inmates in America will be released, they will be your neighbors. Do you want an inmate who is oppressed and treated like an animal? Or do you want a rehabilitated member of society who has the ability to give back?
I think if we want to become a better society, a safe society, and one who cares about people we can start by looking how we treat inmates.
I believe most offenders given the right opportunities will become better people.  The warden from the United States also made good points, he was very sympathetic to the views of the warden from Norway. He stated many inmates return to society with no homes, no jobs, and little hope.
In the United States we create felons for life. Employers do not rush to hire felons many large corporations have strict guidelines against it. Instead the felon is stuck doing menial work, or they go back to crime.  What a waste of talent.
I say this all because it is near to my heart I am a felon. I never have been in prison, but I do face the stigma of being labeled. While it has been over 7 years of trying to develop myself and give back to society I have had to work very hard.  At first no one would hire me. I am thankful I am a veteran and had thousands of dollars for school. I earned a Bachelors, Masters and next year will be working on a Doctorate.  I also have had an amazing support system. My family has been amazing. I have had a powerful drive to get ahead and make a difference in the world. In some ways for me being a felon has created a better me.
This is not the case for most returning inmates. We need to do so much more as a society.  Hopefully I will be in a position to do more myself.

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In life everything cannot be learned by reading books.  You may say but Nate. You put great stock in reading.  Yes, I do. Yet I also understand that a child in southern Florida can read every book there is on what snow is like.  To view pictures of snowmen, sledding, and other winter sport, but without the actual ecperience, the value of the knowledge is unrewarding.  

The same is true for many things in ourlives, both knowledge and experience can bring both positive or negative consequences.  We must choose wisely.  

As a Christian I can read the Bible all I want and have great knowledge of the text, but without the experience of God it is just another book.  

It is no wonder that Christian and Buddhist monks seem to understsnd each other while the priest of their religions (the ones who went to school) lack in agreement.  See the monks have not just read, they have experienced God. They knocked on the door of heaven and it was opened to them.  
Who do you want to be? 
Have a blessed Saturday my friends!

Nate talks about the tragic shooting of a congressman.  The great state of civil unrest in this country as never seen since the days of the civil war.  Nate looks at what Jesus did when faced with similar adversity and the role in which the American government plays.

Nate Sprott takes you on a no holds barred look into the madness of religion in this first comedy special.  If you get offended easy you might as well not listen!

Often when we think of the ideal spiritual life we envision Jesus praying on the mountain alone with his thoughts, or his simple life of traveling from town to town healing the sick and giving hope to the lost. Oh how wonderful! I often wish I had the courage to leave everything behind and wander the earth like Samuel L Jackson from Pulp Fiction looking for adventure. To live a simple yet powerful life, full of spirit and love, changing the world one person or situation at a time. Yet the majority of us including myself are trapped, I love the video someone made of Joe Rogan giving a talk about life and named it Society Trap check it out here: https://youtu.be/zvfy5Enz6-c We have families, we must work because we are in this strange world of money and those who seek financial gain by destroying their fellow man. It is just so strange! I never looked at life this way before, maybe I am getting older, or maybe I would like to think more spiritual, regardless life is getting weirder and weirder. So my fellow Christians involved in busy schedules and family obligations can we ever find ourselves living within the simplicity of Jesus, or any of the other spiritual leaders including Samuel Jackson! I do not suggest taking the Pulp Fiction route to enlightenment. So can we find simplicity in complexity or is it more like complexity of simplicity? Well friends I think we can find a little simplicity within our busy modern lives.

First, just breathe, breathing is an amazing action our bodies automatically perform from birth until death, yet many of us forget to actually take our breathing to the next level. Many studies have proven the impact of meditative breathing, therapist teach breathing techniques to clients with anxiety, and meditation itself revolves around the breath. In meditation the breath is the anchor in which you set your mind upon when it begins to wander. I suggest you take time to meditate every morning. I have talked with many who say they cannot sit still long enough, or they do not have the time to give to meditation. I understand, that but you have time for the sugar filled, heart damaging energy drink! Start with just one minute and work yourself up to ten or longer I guarantee that you will become addicted and will not be able to live life without meditation. For me it is a time to sit in silence and allow God to speak to me. I make no request, I just sit and listen. Believe me this is a perfect addition to the antidepressants and benzodiazepines most of us are on.

Second, stop worrying, I know, I know this is easier said than done. Our Lord talked much about this, his famous quote which believers and non-believers alike know well, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mathew 6:34, NIV) Jesus being incarnated into this crazy world understood how difficult it was and knew that life is not necessarily about tomorrow it is about the “right now.” The apostle Paul speaks to us in similar manner, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV) How do I even try to do this! We live in a fast paced, overworked, world which demands productivity to gain what we call money so we do not end up in a homeless shelter. On a side not I lived in a homeless shelter for five months and to be honest with you it was a very spiritual experience not exactly a comfortable one, but the simplicity of living out the words of Christ, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20, NIV) The saying is true, “more money more problems.” Yet I do not suggest we sell everything and go homeless that is not going to help anything. The late great Napoleon Hill stated so beautifully, “There are myriads of forms of fear, but none are more deadly than the fear of poverty and old age. We drive our bodies as if they were slaves because we are so afraid of poverty that we wish to hoard money for-what-old age! This common form of fear drives us so hard that we overwork our bodies and bring on the very thing we are struggling to avoid.”1

 

Third, just give it to God, oh yes another one of those easy sayings. Sometimes I call it the, I do not give a crap, whatever happens, happens. Is that healthy? I think so, I think we try so hard to carve out a life from the chaos we miss the simplicity that is found in following the path of Christ. So let us do as the apostle said and cast our cares upon him. Some theologians, and I think I can agree believe that the past, present and future are all within God himself. So when you mess up at work, or do something stupid at home, embarrass yourself, get turned down, etc. Then I suggest don’t give a crap. God loves you with a love in which we cannot even come close to imagining, basically no matter what, you will be alright. One of the keys that I have found is to just keep moving forward, not allowing the negative influences of life to take up much space in my head and create within myself the ideal thought pattern’s to create if you will my own universe. That may sound strange but it is not, we are born as sons and daughters of the greatest creator so god forbid you do not use your own nature as a child of God to create your world. Largely this is done by giving this crazy chaotic complex world to God and then keep the simplistic world of Jesus on the mountain alive within ourselves. Remember everything’s going to be just fine regardless of the circumstances.

I do not say this without experience, I have gone through much in my 36 years. My goal is for us to find simplicity within the complexity of this life. Or in other words take away the perception or the illusion of complexity and focus in on the real, the simplistic, and the wonderful life found within the Christ. Amen.

 

  1. Hill, Napoleon. The Law of Success: In Sixteen Lessons. Blacksburg, VA.: Wilder Publications, 2011.107.

 

 

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Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NIV.

Lawyers, sometimes you love them most of the time you hate them. That being said the legal profession is essential to the United States. They help balance our society, yet just as society is imperfect so are the lawyers. Many in whom seek to reach their legal tentacles into every part of everyday life. This can mean many live in poverty along with others not being able to achieve advancement because corporate America is afraid of being sued. We live in a lawsuit happy nation, with money being the motivator. Of course it doesn’t help that “we the people” play along when it is in our interest. The cycle of greed continues and I suppose we are all guilty at some point or another. This article is not one that is designed to bash lawyers; I had an amazing attorney fight for me when I needed it. This is an article that will go down many paths from felons seeking employment, individuals trying to better themselves through references, as well as illegals within the country who cannot find work because of their status.

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One of the biggest problems facing HR managers today is the fear of being sued for negligent hiring. Like most rules on the books they start out with good intentions, but oh that love of money. Paul spoke to Timothy telling him “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV). It goes both ways business desire to hire the best employees to profit their company and rightfully so, yet companies are intimidated by lawyers. Lawyers who will sue a business if said employee commits and act on the job in which negligent hiring can be proven. So these bully lawyers keep people out of work and entrapped in poverty. I have known many good companies who would hire reformed felons if it wasn’t for negligent hiring lawsuits. This is not just effecting people with felonies such as myself it is also effecting those with misdemeanors. We literally have millions of disenfranchised individuals in America. A new slavery of sorts. Oh of course you could say well you break the law you do the time. Except in the United States many times the time that is served is life. We live in a country in which draconian and puritanical laws are still in existence and once you are convicted of a crime it is a sentence of a scarlet letter for life. Rehabilitation is only a copout and the desire to keep a social class of slaves is fueled by the criminal justice system. Background checks are the norm for hiring in most companies and often the major intention is the fear of a negligent hiring lawsuits. What in the world did the country do before background checks? Well if history tells us anything it was doing a lot better than it is now. I know many people including myself who have a desire to work are unable to secure gainful employment. We are constantly turned down because of a criminal background. I like the quote from one of my favorite movies “The Kingdom of Heaven” The son comes to the father and says “I have committed murder” the father responds “haven’t we all.” Jesus spoke of murder taking place in the heart of man through hateful thoughts towards one another. I am mentioning murder it is obviously a hyperbole. Most people convicted of murder are sent to prison for life and most of the time it is justified. I am speaking about individuals such as myself who have never been to prison but still have a criminal history. Yes I have done wrong, I have paid for my choices, but should it be for life? Many companies have good hearts and would give many people second chances yet because of the possibility of negligent hiring they cannot take any chances. So what do we do? We cannot find work and we are not in prison. Many of us eventually do find some sort of manual labor after a duration of years, many just get fed up and end up back committing crime. Heck if society isn’t going to give you a chance then what’s the sense right? Wrong that is not the way to go about it. I decided to go back to school and completed a Bachelor’s degree and have almost completed a Masters. I actually have a goal of continuing if accepted into doctoral studies of religion. I find that academia being fairly liberal is also very accepting.

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Why can’t a person better themselves and actually get a good job? Who said we cannot be the societal changers of the world? We can be the catalyst for change in the coming years! I urge anyone who is feeling hopeless to take up the call of right living. Jesus has accepted you even when no one else will.  The God who has created the universe is the same God that can open the doors and make the impossible possible. Jesus said “believe.” My brothers and sisters who have a background do not give up hope. Do not go back to crime. I know society does not understand but as our numbers grow so does our power.  We serve a God who reached out to the likes of us.  He didn’t come to those who are well, but to the sick.

My second issue with the negligent hiring lawsuits is that companies are even afraid of giving out a professional reference to a perspective employers. I have recently dealt with this in my own life as well. I find it very disturbing that lawyers are even going after companies who give professional references. They will sue companies that provide a reference if he or she turns out to be a “negligent hire.” So now everyone is scared to speak to each other because of lawsuits. While lawyers many times help people receive freedom it is the blood sucking brood of vipers who plague us with their lawsuits who are destroying the fabric of society. The EEOC says that a previous employer must give dates of hire, and must tell the perspective employer if they would hire again. I guess that is something, but the EEOC has much more work to do. Congress has much more work to do. Yet I don’t know if they work? Hmm. Legislation must be passed to end negligent hiring lawsuits. The end of negligent hiring and background checks for most jobs must take place. I understand that there are careers that because of my poor choices I cannot do. I accept that but I will not accept being a slave. Such legislation if passed would literally put an end to most disenfranchisement of felons, and help the advancement of citizens in the workforce.

My third issue is not one that has much to do with negligent hiring but with illegals trying to find work. Yes I am liberal on this issue. We cry and complain that illegals are sucking the social services dry, yet we will not let them work. We say that they are taking “our” jobs but they do the jobs nobody else wants for very low pay. So who are the true criminals? Well if we let them work they would be paying taxes and would not need social services. Easy answer to a big problem, yet in all honestly the three situations that I am addressing money is the major factor; just don’t love it. If people can take pride in what they do and earn a living wage business would boom. Buying and selling would go through the roof. The so called American dream could still be had. Yet the lawyers and bankers have been getting in the way so long by stuffing their pockets most people do not even know what the American dream is anymore.

early-mass

The early church prior to the 3rd century had it together. The book of Acts gives a small window into what life was like. People gave to each other holding nothing as their own. They lived in community and the Christ consciousness was alive in them. I believe that we are in a time of awakening on the earth, and also within the body of Christ. Jesus loves his church and desires his church to be one. The elimination of denominations and divisions that keep us from being united are being torn down and a free range church is rising. There will be those left in the walls of buildings and institutions clinging to human fundamentalism instead of the way of the Spirit. Most of the modern Protestant doctrines were created by men in the last couple hundred years who at the time seemed radical. Yet many of us perceive them as biblical fact. John Darby Nelson who gave us dispensationalism basically a hypothesis that cannot be proven nor disproven. Dispensationalism and eschatology go hand in hand Darby divides time into periods both past and future based on biblical text. A cool idea but not necessarily true, and was a radical idea at the time. Also the rapture, also an idea based on biblical text whom many attribute to Cotton Mather. While the orthodox and catholic church dismiss the rapture it is popular in my breed of Christianity. I am not trying to knock these theories, I am saying they were radical during the early 1800’s. They are now common place and often taken as fact by some. Now we have new ideas that are alive in the church. I believe it is because of the global consciousness that is leading the world into Christ consciousness. Part of this is being Jesus to each other, living out the scriptures in our lives, not out of fear of damnation but out of love. Being a Jesus follower and living life as Jesus lived his.

I know that I have gotten off track. Yet I think that it all comes together when we live in community as Christians. I have been wanting to address the evils of negligent hiring practices along with the idea that change while scary can be a good thing. I believe that everything is spiritual in some way, everything is divine. It is okay to mix social issues with our faith.

We can try to keep people out, people who are created in the image of God. People who just didn’t have the moral luck that maybe some of you had. You may be wishing to advance yourself in the country and find yourself unable to because of the evils of the love of money. This sin which has bound and chained our country. From my article “No Borders in Paradise” you will know that I don’t believe in borders or illegal immigrants because we are all people of the earth united under Christ. All people should be given a chance to be a part of society despite their mistakes, legal status, and social class. We should all have the ability through hard work to advance ourselves in this world. Yet for this to be possible I think a complete restructuring of society is what is needed. I do not really know what this looks like, but I am working on it.

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Finally I want you to be positive. No that Jesus loves you. He is with you. His will is only in your best interest. Life is tough, it really wasn’t meant to be easy. We need to take the path of least resistance and follow the Spirit of God and not the spirit of humanism. The Spirit that says that all things are possible. The Spirit that cries out that there is no limits, no ceiling. That even when we have barriers in society they can be removed. Rules can be broken, don’t break the law but rules always have exceptions. Whether you’re a person like me with a past, someone trying to advance their career or here illegally and desiring to cut out a life for yourself. It is possible like our master said “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 NIV). Blessings!

4e2We live an amazing time in history. At no other time has one been able to communicate with other humans around the globe so quickly. Yes the world has gone and gotten itself into a hurry and if you’re smart you will keep most of your thoughts off of the net. I suppose I find myself not following my own advice. Well it is probably because I don’t have much shame, and not to worried about being publicly shamed. I have done enough shaming of myself through many poor life choices. Yet I am undeterred and press forward because I am looking out for you; not really but I do care.

I care about humanity because we are all men and women created in the image of God. We make mistakes, fall down, and often times if you’re like me falling down is about as normal as a walk in the park.  Alright, enough about me, back to the lecture at hand. I say all of this as a human who believes in social justice and equality for all people. It is important that we give grace and understanding to those that we may not see eye to eye with. We all know of someone would be considered a social justice warrior. They drive a hybrid, always recycle, and attend social events for the causes they support. Most are always into the latest and greatest causes within the progressive movement and are quick to gang up on those that cling to their Bible and guns. Now of course I am generalizing, as I fall into the middle of the spectrum. Not a radical conservative or a crazy liberal, instead I have found my space in the Goldilocks zone of the political, social, and religious spectrums. But watch out because if you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar saying something not popular the social justice peace loving warriors will strip you of your identity and roast you like a stuff pig. So I have come to the conclusion is it social justice? Or social abuse?

We humans like to follow the leader. We will jump on a bandwagon and pick up stones and destroy each other with words and other forms of abuse because it seems popular, everyone else is doing it, or maybe it satisfies some deep unfulfilled place in our soul. It’s an oxymoron- ok I am going to fight for justice, at the same time I am going to tear someone down. I think of the many establishments around the country who refuse to bake a cake or support homosexual weddings through their businesses. It might be a little silly, I have told my friends what an excellent opportunity to share the light of Christ. Yet for these people it is a real issue they are honestly morally torn. I dont get it, why can’t we just leave them alone? Here is a good one, Donald Trump talks about Mexicans at the border and while he may have some valid points. He obviously needs to do some research and is not politically correct, but that is his opinion. Just for the record I hate political correctness. Trump is also an ego maniac what do you expect! Yet the whole country will stop and put all of its attention on Trump while there is much more important issues. Now what the social warrior does is becomes the social abuser, doing what once was thought as noble becomes intolerance towards intolerance. If you have to bash someone for a slip of the tongue or because you do not agree with someone’s twitter post or what someone says on Facebook we can lose sight of who we truly are allowing ego to win. The social abusers are just as quick to get the stake and gasoline and burn someone like Salem. The very thing you are trying to stop, you have become. I am sure I have been guilty of this I just wrote an article in reference to Mike Huckabee and his remarks on the border. Yet in all fairness I like Mike. We are not all going to agree on all social issues, but we can get along and enjoy humanities differences. Some people are so worried about offending someone that they never really get anything done. Let me remind you again we are human and have come a long way since the beginning of this country. And thank you social justice warriors! It was the social justice warriors that have paved the way to the place we are today. We live in a more tolerant and peaceful society- outside of the Middle East- than ever before. We have all have heard of the 1% a social status that I wouldn’t mind being in, I mean why the hate- because you’re not in the club? Put me in the 1% and you can say whatever you want about me. Yet the social justice abusers are like piranhas waiting for one to make the fatal slip into the lake. Look he or she is racist or a homophobe, they own a confederate flag, or I cannot believe they think Bruce Jenner is still a man, you get my point.  We love to take others words out of context for some morbid self-gratification. Yet that is the mindset of the modern social justice abusers if there is not something to fight about, by golly we will make something up.

So let us start being kind to one another, if we disagree try to reason with another in a respectful way. We are all a part of this human family who God loves. Granted I know that I have been guilty of this and will probably will be guilty in the future, yet I acknowledge my wrongs and wish to put an end to the social abuse. Remember that we are the bride of Christ, he loves his bride and has cleansed us. In his eyes we are all beautiful regardless of our faults. Next time you take aim at a person or group of people that have a different opinion than yours remember that you also have a different opinion than theirs, and both of us are not any more or less special.