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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Change of heart

    In the past I've made it very clear how I have felt about social programs, etc.

    I'd just like to say that over the past few months I've been doing quite a bit of "soul searching" and have come to the conclusion that I believe I've been completely wrong.

    Are there people out there taking advantage of the system? Of course. But it doesn't matter. As a Christian, it's up to me to do what I can to help those who have very little/nothing. If that means that I have to vote for someone who wants to raise taxes to spend more on social programs then so be it.

    I still believe there are better ways to do it then raising taxes for the rich (I feel that a flat tax for middle class and up would be the best way to go) but as far as the healthcare/welfare/etc go, I'm fully behind it. If that means I have less...I'm fine with that.

    If the programs ended up helping only one "deserving" person while allowing thousands to take advantage of the system, I'm good with that.

    "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, give unto God that which is God's".

    Just let me add that this change of heart does not come from any personal/family related incident. This is strictly a religious "slap in the face" I've recently had. It's a shame that it took me so long, but all that matters is that I got there before it was too late.

    I'd also like to add that I'm not condemning those of you who feel the way I used to. I see your point, I understand your arguments, because they were mine for a long time.

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    Senior Member Chief_KO's Avatar
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    Appreciate your honesty.
    "Never force a fart in Djibouti"..."Always marry your second wife first"..."If anyone says that you're not a team player, maybe they're on the wrong team"..."You can gold plate a turd and it's still a turd"

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    It's pretty cool that you decided to share that with us.

    I have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of certain social programs, but I certainly recognize that there is a valid need for them.

    Do you care to tell us what the "slap in the face" was?

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    It's pretty cool that you decided to share that with us.

    I have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of certain social programs, but I certainly recognize that there is a valid need for them.

    Do you care to tell us what the "slap in the face" was?
    There was nothing specific at all. Just a feeling, I guess. There wasn't any instance that occurred. Just been doing a lot of thinking, taking inventory of myself and my life.

    I know how many feel about religion and the hypocritical actions of the majority of Christians, so I started asking myself why that is. I've rewatched a few movies over the past couple of weeks ("The Bible", etc) and have done some reading and there is always the same message when it comes to the life of Jesus. He never judged anyone. Whether you believe he is the Son of God or believe he was just a man, the message was still the same...his actions were always the same. No matter the actions of the person, no matter the intent of the person, he was going to help them. Prostitute, thief, murdererer, etc, he wanted to help.

    I believed that many of the poor people in our society could get out of the situations they are in if they try. I still believe that. But it's not up to me to separate those people from the ones that are truly in need. I'm not smart enough to know exactly why people are in the situations they are in. I am smart enough to know that, whatever the reason, they still do not deserve to suffer. It's up to me to offer assistance in any way I can when the opportunity arises.

    Does this mean that I will be giving away all my belongings and all my time to charity? No. I'm still a hypocrytical Christian. But hopefully it means that, in the future, I will pay closer attention to the state of peoples lives and peoples situations and be more understanding.

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Sandsjames, keep giving it more thought, because the even greater epiphany will be knowing where you - yourself - stand in this society.

    I'm in full agreement with what you're saying, but here are two other aspects of my beliefs concerning that:

    1. Realize the most important thing that we have in common with those on public assistance is that neither of us make the rules in our society. We don't draft bills, pass them, veto them, or sign them into law. Nor do we have the money or equivalent power to influence those who do. We're simply pieces in a game that the powers that be make the rules to. It is those who make the rules, and those with the money and/or power to influence them, that our anger needs to be directed toward. But these people have been very effective at making scapegoats of those on public assistance to deflect any and all attention away from them.


    2. We need to stop identifying with the rich and powerful because, in reality, we're only hurting ourselves by identifying with them. I told everyone the story here, not too long ago, about the middle aged woman with missing teeth and a torn up t-shirt driving an old minivan that looked like it was about to fall apart, with a bumper sticker on that back that said "Your fair share is not in my wallet." Clearly, this woman was very delusional about her OWN place in our society, thinking that she's somehow rich enough to be hoarding any money denied others through crony capitalism; instead of realizing that she's a victim of it herself. My favorite line by Jesus: "He who exatls himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." I can think of no more of a true statement in the entire Bible than that one. In the context of the woman I'm talking about, because she thinks herself as being higher in our society than what she is, she's going to vote accordingly - thus hurting herself, and giving more ability to those who want to take away from her.
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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    There was nothing specific at all. Just a feeling, I guess. There wasn't any instance that occurred. Just been doing a lot of thinking, taking inventory of myself and my life.

    I know how many feel about religion and the hypocritical actions of the majority of Christians, so I started asking myself why that is. I've rewatched a few movies over the past couple of weeks ("The Bible", etc) and have done some reading and there is always the same message when it comes to the life of Jesus. He never judged anyone. Whether you believe he is the Son of God or believe he was just a man, the message was still the same...his actions were always the same. No matter the actions of the person, no matter the intent of the person, he was going to help them. Prostitute, thief, murdererer, etc, he wanted to help.

    I believed that many of the poor people in our society could get out of the situations they are in if they try. I still believe that. But it's not up to me to separate those people from the ones that are truly in need. I'm not smart enough to know exactly why people are in the situations they are in. I am smart enough to know that, whatever the reason, they still do not deserve to suffer. It's up to me to offer assistance in any way I can when the opportunity arises.

    Does this mean that I will be giving away all my belongings and all my time to charity? No. I'm still a hypocrytical Christian. But hopefully it means that, in the future, I will pay closer attention to the state of peoples lives and peoples situations and be more understanding.
    That sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

    I seem to remember a I conversation in another thread where I hit you over the head with a few bible verses on that very thing.

    I'm going to go ahead and take full credit for your change of heart. I'm currently writing my MTF EPR, and that will make a nice double-bullet.

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    That sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

    I seem to remember a I conversation in another thread where I hit you over the head with a few bible verses on that very thing.

    I'm going to go ahead and take full credit for your change of heart. I'm currently writing my MTF EPR, and that will make a nice double-bullet.
    Hey, no need for the "I told you so." He's just now seeing the other side, and at this early of a stage, this new outlook could still be fragile.

    Even though I've thought this way for YEARS, I've still seen things that make me question it. For example, when I drove taxis, the one thing that used to piss me off to no end is when I would get calls to the housing projects and take people to McDonald's or any other fast food restuarant.

    Granted, as a taxi driver, you hate taking people to drive-thrus, because the meter slows while you're waiting in line. Add to the fact that you know you're not getting a tip from someone you picked up in the projects to make up for slowing the meter, and that makes it worse.

    But you know what sucks even more? When the fast food joint is just a few blocks down the street; and after all is said and done, the fare is $7. That's $7 on top of a $7 value meal at McDonald's. So, basically, they spent $14 on a $7 meal at McDonald's, because they didn't feel like walking.

    Here's the thing: I've got no problem with someone buying king crab legs or a two-inch thick porterhouse steak (most of you don't realize that they've gotta eat ramen the night before in order to eat that the next day). I've got no problem with them if they would have taken that same $14, and got themselves a meal at Chili's with it. Enjoy life... your life shouldn't suck because you're poor or on public assistance, or because you're afraid of pissing off people who don't know where their anger SHOULD be directed.

    But $14 on a $7 meal, because you don't feel like walking two or three blocks down the street? That's a WASTE of money.

    What if Sandsjames experienced that right now? Would he immediately snap out of his new change of heart? I don't know. But I'm not going to toy with him. At least not yet!
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    That sounds like a pretty good plan to me.

    I seem to remember a I conversation in another thread where I hit you over the head with a few bible verses on that very thing.

    I'm going to go ahead and take full credit for your change of heart. I'm currently writing my MTF EPR, and that will make a nice double-bullet.
    I appreciate you being the sole factor. If you need proof that you facilitated this whole thing I will sign off.

    I won't lie. It played a part. Not initially, but I was watching something on TV that was covering all the "meek inherit the earth" and "camel through the eye of a needle" stuff, so I sat down (actually, was already sitting down) and really started thinking about it. I was already very familiar with the verses, what they meant, and what the intention was, I just realized that I was looking at them from the wrong point of view.

    I will also say this. This doesn't mean that I'm going to start bashing rich people or thinking that they haven't earned what they have. As a matter of fact, I feel they probably need just as much, if not more, compassion as the poor. I don't feel they should feel obligated or forced to do anything with their money they don't want to. I just feel it's my obligation to support those things that do help those who need it.

    This isn't about others. This isn't about the political system or how things should be ran. It's about how I personally deal with certain situations.

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    Senior Member CrustySMSgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    Does this mean that I will be giving away all my belongings and all my time to charity? No. I'm still a hypocrytical Christian. But hopefully it means that, in the future, I will pay closer attention to the state of peoples lives and peoples situations and be more understanding.
    I'm one of those who have become extremely cynical about religion as I get older, but I respect those who do their best to live by what they believe. Good on you for stepping up and making an effort to stand up for what you believe. It is those who make no effort at all, yet use religion as ammo to judge others, which is pretty much the opposite of what you're supposed to do that give it all a bad name.
    "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep the streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep the street so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. "

    Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.


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    Senior Member LogDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    In the past I've made it very clear how I have felt about social programs, etc.

    I'd just like to say that over the past few months I've been doing quite a bit of "soul searching" and have come to the conclusion that I believe I've been completely wrong.

    Are there people out there taking advantage of the system? Of course. But it doesn't matter. As a Christian, it's up to me to do what I can to help those who have very little/nothing. If that means that I have to vote for someone who wants to raise taxes to spend more on social programs then so be it.

    I still believe there are better ways to do it then raising taxes for the rich (I feel that a flat tax for middle class and up would be the best way to go) but as far as the healthcare/welfare/etc go, I'm fully behind it. If that means I have less...I'm fine with that.

    If the programs ended up helping only one "deserving" person while allowing thousands to take advantage of the system, I'm good with that.

    "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, give unto God that which is God's".

    Just let me add that this change of heart does not come from any personal/family related incident. This is strictly a religious "slap in the face" I've recently had. It's a shame that it took me so long, but all that matters is that I got there before it was too late.

    I'd also like to add that I'm not condemning those of you who feel the way I used to. I see your point, I understand your arguments, because they were mine for a long time.
    I don't care for people who abuse programs to help others who actually need help. The social programs are the safety nets society constructed to keep people from endless poverty or suffering. The analogy I use is that of a trapeze artist in a circus. If he looses his grip and falls, the (safety) net is there to catch him and help lift him back up so he can climb the ladder and resume his position in society (circus).

    I alone cannot help everyone but collectively as a society we can. I don't mind paying more in taxes if that will help those less fortunate than myself because that's part of the contract individuals have with society. In my small city, we have a bond measure on the ballot to raise $29 million by issuing five-year bonds. The yearly tax increase on me would be about $450 a year to pay off the bond but that's something I'm, a person without any children, am willing to do because it benefits the children and also society as a whole by educating those who will be the doctors, lawyers, nurses, auto mechanics, soldiers/sailors/airmen, etc. of the future.

    I hope as time goes forward you'll increase your awareness and support of those truly in need.

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