A Balancing Act For the Ages

Bear with me, this one gets a little long. But If you’re married and you both work – especially if you deal with the public – it’s worth a read.

I work in radio as a news reporter. At times it’s been very rewarding. Other times…. well not so much.

I took a new job (with the same company) at the end of October. A friend and mentor of mine moved on to greener pastures and as luck would have it, I was next man up for his position. One of the cool things is that this radio station is an anomaly. People here love their radio station and their local radio news. I mean, they really love it. It’s to the point where the local newspaper could not even print and no one would miss it.

So naturally, when there was a change in the line up for the first time in 15 years, people felt it was their responsibility to tell me how big the shoes were I had to fill. In the little over a month that I’ve been here, I’ve probably gotten 15 calls or emails with comments on my performance. Not all of them have been negative. In fact, I’d call it a constructive mix of positive feedback, constructive criticism and stuff that you write down and look at when you need a good laugh.

My mornings are fairly busy here. From 5 a.m. to about 6:40, I don’t have a second to spare. If I run late it throws everything off, not just for me, but for everyone in the building at that time. Naturally, I prioritize: 5 a.m. Arrive and clock in, 5:05 or before, check email for press releases and write up what I can use. 5:15ish, gather stories from the news wire to fill out newscasts. By 5:30, I need to be recording news and sports that run on the AM station. 5:45 I’m importing those into the on air computer. Right after that, I post all the news and sports stories (among other things like obituaries, mugshots, etc) to our website. Those have to be on the web before my first live news cast at 6:30. The 6:30 news runs about 10-12 minutes. At 6:40ish, I can take a little breather.

Now, in the building I work in, we have two stations our FM station and an AM Talk Station. On the AM we run things like Doug Stephan, Coast To Coast, Dave Ramsey, RFD Illinois, Glenn Beck – you get the picture. The AM station is NOTORIOUS for going off the rails at unpredictable times. The computer might freeze and crash, something scheduled doesn’t play, one of the programs misses their cue – and it just gets off. It’s nothing we can help. The only thing I can do is hope either I or the on-air guy catches it as quickly as possible.

So at 6:45, I usually will log on to the station’s Facebook Page to see if we got any love (also to see if anyone posted anything newsworthy that I can follow up on.) This morning (11-25-14) I log on and we have a notification from a guy I spoke with last week who complained about a hiccup in the programming. I explained how the AM station works and he seemed to understand. Apparently, he’s a big fan.

So when I get on there this morning I found this comment:

“Here it is 6:25am and your news person is interrupting the good day live show.smh”

I toyed with the idea of telling him if he didn’t like frequent interruptions he could call our corporate office and talk to the engineer. I also toyed with the idea of telling him I’d trade places with him – He could do my job while I snarkily call him out for every mistake he makes. I didn’t. But I wanted to.

The truth of the matter is, this kind of behavior is to be expected when you work closely with the public. Especially in the media. Especially in News. Everything you say or do comes under scrutiny. You’re a trash organization for reporting the local arrests and putting mugshots from the local county sheriff on your website. But, by gum, don’t you forget to do it on a daily basis. Seriously, go take a look. No matter what’s in the news, that’s ALWAYS in the top five for views on our website.

Some people just want to complain. No matter what you’re doing for them. They just want to have a problem with something. I’m reminded of a quote from The Dark Knight “Some people Just want to watch the world burn.”

Now, I’ve said all that, to say this – this is the real point of this particular blog entry. Sometimes, people who deal with those type of people, tend to be tired of dealing with people when they get home.

Hear me out here. I deal with idiots like the guy above on a daily basis. I’m also for the most part, pretty introverted. So being in an industry that requires me to deal with people a lot just drains my batteries. It’s especially bad when people want to point out everything that I’ve done wrong. If I have a day where I deal with idiots, it’s best to leave me alone because I’m already on the defensive about it.

That’s dangerous territory in a marriage.

Speaking for myself and no one else, With people I don’t know, my guard is up. I can’t say the things I want to say to them because I have to be aware of protecting my company or reputation as a news person. With people I love – they see me at my  most vulnerable. I’m not as guarded. I don’t have to protect a financial interest or something like that. They’re going to usually get me unfiltered.

So I need time to re-charge before I’m able to have a civil conversation. And that goes for a lot of situations. Any time I’m in a large group of people, any time I’m under a lot of stress. Basically anytime I’m out of my comfort zone.  And re-charging is not something that happens quickly. It takes several hours for me to get to a point where I’m comfortable being around people again. Well, when you have a family, that’s not realistic.

Its something I struggle with and more than once, I’ve said things I regret to people I love – especially my wife. She’s been a trooper and I owe her so much more than what I can give.

But it’s taken me a long time to Identify this problem in myself; like literally just this week.

So, I just wanted to share this with anyone who may be interested enough to read, and hopefully it will help someone else.

Spanking: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.

First of All, sorry about the Absence – assuming I have any faithful readers. I’m adjusting to new job and have had some difficulty fitting blogging into my schedule. I hope I can get back to the point where I’m doing this once a week – and maybe even get to the point where I can do this once a day.

Now, on with the show!

One of the hottest topics right now is the ongoing saga of Adrian Peterson and his child abuse case. Every news and sports outlet seems to be reporting on it and every columnist, blogger, and analyst seems to have an opinion.

The rhetoric has become insanely predictable.

“His action that ignited this firestorm was abhorrent. There’s been no real evidence at any point of the ordeal that he’s gotten it, or tried to do anything more than justify and alibi it all away.” – Dave DeLand, SC Times

“Adrian Peterson didn’t discipline his child. He beat the [Heck*] out of him, not with his hands but – maybe this is worse? – with a stick.” – Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star

“Call me crazy, but I think a 6’1″, 215-pound NFL player like Peterson beating up a child warrants massive punishment.” – Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report

I’m not a fan of demonizing anyone. I like Adrian Peterson as a player, as a person, I’m not a big fan. He has 7 kids (reportedly) with several different women (allegedly.) He played a football game days after one of his children was murdered by one of his baby-mama’s boyfriends. I don’t agree with his stance on paying college athletes. I read an article once where Peterson talked about how college athletes don’t want to live on campus and have to take care of their kids – so they should be paid. Here’s a thought, don’t get people pregnant and suck it up and live on campus..

But as much as I disagree with him on things like how many baby-mama’s are appropriate for one man to have and the amount of time you should mourn the passing of your child, I don’t know how I feel about him being labeled a child abuser.

On one hand – I agree, he took it too far and the truth is there’s no excuse for child abuse, especially when you see the pictures of what he did to this little boy.

But on the other hand – I’m not going to demonize him for spanking his child. I was spanked as a child. There were times my parents probably took it too far (I remember one particular time I got kicked out of the city pool and had bruises from the 40 minute long one I got.) But I’m also a functioning member of society, with a healthy respect for my elders, the law and myself. In contrast, a family that was very close to mine has a son about my age and he’s been to prison several times on various charges. His parents stopped spanking him because they drank the “abuse” kool-aid. He and I went to the same schools, had basically the same life growing up. Our families were always around each other. The only real difference was the spanking.

In the overly PC world we live in, parents have been stripped of their power over their children. I have a co-worker who tells me a story about how even in his adult years, he believed his dad would “knock him the [freak] out” if he stepped out of line. Kids need to grow up with a healthy fear of their parents’ wrath. If kids aren’t afraid of being punished, the inmates run the asylum. Here’s an article from a CNN Columnist (no less) about that.

I don’t believe “studies” that say kids who are spanked are more likely to become violent or even criminals. That doesn’t make sense.

“But, Jason,” you say, “How can you teach kids not to be violent when you’re punishing them with violence?”

I’m glad you asked. You see, I believe if you teach children how much it hurts to be hit – if you’ve raised them to be compassionate human beings – they’ll understand they’re causing pain to another person. Case in point – my son recently went through the biting phase. Once it became apparent to me he understood what he was doing (he would laugh every time I said ouch and got to a point where he was doing it for a reaction) I bit him back. It only took once. He hasn’t bit me since and as far as I know he hasn’t bitten anyone else.

On top of that, I believe that if a kid knows if he steps out of line he’ll be punished, he’ll be less likely to step out of line. He may toe that line, but that’s okay. Kids need to explore their boundaries. Shouldn’t you know how close you can get to a rattlesnake before it strikes? Shoot, just stay away from the rattlesnake and you know you won’t get bit, right? There’s a respect there for the fangs and venom.

My parents, misguided as they may have been at points in my childhood, also played the “Wait til your father gets home” card beautifully. I knew if I got in trouble at school, I was gonna get it when I got home. I knew if I got in trouble at the babysitters, my grandmother’s house, where ever, I was going to get spanked when I got home. So, for the most part, I stayed out of trouble.

Now, keep in mind, I believe kids who aren’t spanked can turn out just fine and  I believe that happens in a lot of cases. I also believe kids who are spanked can become violent sociopaths, though I don’t believe it’s the norm.  I believe the “Studies” that are conducted and funded by government money probably cook the results a little and only sample those kinds of cases. A lot of the problem is with spanking not being done the correct way.

What do I mean by that?

Well, that brings me to the who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Who:
Parents and only parents. If you didn’t create (or adopt) the child or If you’re not a close family member like a grandparent, there’s no reason for you to be laying your hand on a child. If a parent spanks a child, your threat to tell the parents should be good enough to work. If its not, call the parent. I think that’s where you get your violence mentalities. It’s confusing if everyone in the world can spank you for something that may or may not be a spankable offense at home. The parents’ discretion should be the standard.

What:
Only for deliberate defiance. If you tell your kid “don’t do that” and they do it anyway, by all means spank them. If they make a mistake they genuinely didn’t know about, that situation needs to be addressed, but with love, compassion and a stern warning. I would also urge parents to believe their kids when they say “I didn’t know.” More often than not, that’s a true statement. Don’t just come back with a snarky response and disbelief. That in itself is really damaging to your child. If they can’t trust you to believe them, who should they trust.

When:
When it happens or when you find out about it. Be sure to let enough time pass so that you don’t over-react, but don’t let so much time pass that the kid forgets about it.

Where:
Usually at home, but I’m also just fine if that time comes when you’re in public. I see no problem with a swat on the butt in the grocery store when you’ve said no 5 times to the sugar cereal request and they throw a tantrum. I see no problem with taking a kid outside when they act up in church. Go ahead and smack the hand when at the family dinner when you’ve told them 10 times they can’t have cake first and they try to get some. A lot of times, kids think that their parents won’t do anything to them in front of other people and that causes them to act up. They need to know getting spanked is an equal opportunity affair.

Why:
This one isn’t so much a why you spank them as much as it is a make sure the kid understands why they’re being spanked. If your kid has no clue why they’re being spanked, they’re just going to think you’re hitting them. I could see how that would cause violent tendencies later in life. Before a spanking and after a spanking, I believe you calmly tell the kid (even if it’s calmly raising your voice over screams of protest) here’s why you’re getting a spanking/this is why you got spanked. It’s very important for kids to get it when they…well…get it.

How:
This is the one where Adrian Peterson failed. How do you spank a child? With enough cognitive reasoning to be mindful that you are much larger and more powerful than a small child. You don’t hit a kid as if they’re an adult. Whether you do it with a belt, switch, your hand, a paddle, (or in my case a tobacco stick,) you have to understand that there’s a difference between necessary force for an adult and necessary force for a child. Obviously you might as well not do it if the kid is laughing at you, but you don’t want to leave bruises and cuts. My wife tells a story about getting smacked on the thigh right after getting out of the bath when she was little and it left a welt. She showed her dad as if to say “see what you did to me?” According to my wife, her dad’s response was “cut the attitude out or I’ll give you one to match the other side.” That might be a good middle ground.

I don’t agree with the way Adrian Peterson disciplined his son, but I don’t believe there was any malicious intent. I believe there’s a general consensus that he took it too far, but those of us who’ve been spanked and intend to spank our children understand. As far as his playing time goes, I don’t think he should have been suspended for the rest of the season. I think that’s the commissioner of the NFL overcompensating for his perceived mistake with Ray Rice. I also have said before I don’t believe someone should be punished at work for something they do in private, no matter how public their company is.

Feel free to blow up my comments section. I love a lively debate.

* I don’t like to use profanity in my blog.  The word in question was the “H” word.

Chivalry is Dead and Women Killed it?

One of the most entertaining pastimes in the history of the internet is reading comments sections.

It doesn’t matter if it’s sports, news, opinion, entertainment whatever the actual article is about, you’re going to get a good laugh (and maybe feel a little disappointed in humanity) when you read the comments.

My comments section I frequent is ESPN. If it’s anything to do with a high profile athlete or Incident, I’ll read the article (or skim it if I’m really tired – it’s usually as I’m laying in bed at night) and then spend twice the time I spent on the article reading the comments.

It’s just so funny. The most ignorant among us are the loudest – and by ignorant I mean it literally ranges from people who can’t string together a coherent thought to super educated people who are super offended by everything and try to use their intelligence to intimidate others.

When I woke up this morning (10-15-14) I grabbed my phone to check my email and browse Facebook for a couple minutes before getting up to start my day. A friend of mine had posted a link to an article about how chivalry has become a lost art form in today’s instant gratification society.

It has. The author nailed it. Whatever happened to guys being gentlemen? A quick tour of the personals section of Craigslist will tell you guys are taking advantage of the internet to streamline the process of getting “the only thing they want.”

But it’s not their fault. They’re just taking advantage of the opportunity available to them. Girls aren’t making guys work for it anymore.

From a biblical standpoint girls and guys should be keeping it in their pants until marriage. Period. Marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman not multiple partners – and every partner you have before your spouse just disrespects them more because you couldn’t wait for them. Sex is not a normal part of any relationship.

People used to believe that. It was a time when men couldn’t text a booty call at 11 p.m. and have them come over for no strings attached sex. They actually had to go out and meet women, date them, and actually get to know them. The idea of just getting your jollies and going to the other way wasn’t unheard of, but it was not what respectable people did.

Guys had to put in effort. That’s not saying women didn’t or don’t like sex. But they had more respect for themselves and their bodies then.

Girls have given away all the cards they used to hold. The average guy today has an attitude that says “if you don’t have sex with me, I’ll find someone who will.” And they WILL find one. The “women’s liberation” movement and the destruction of gender roles in our society have created women that are so offended by the very thought of a man being stronger than them in any way, that they’re willing to do anything to prove there’s no such thing as a weaker sex.

So what part of giving a man exactly what he’s after for free proves you’re the smart one?

If you don’t believe me, read the comments on the article I linked to above. I picked out some of my favorites.

comment 1

comment 2

Or Check out this gem.

Comment 3

So let me get this straight; According to the first commenter up there, women don’t deserve to be treated like ladies. That’s not something I’m making up. She said it. She said women deserve to be treated with the respect I would show and equal.

Ok. So if I were to ever go on a date with this woman, I’m going to punch her in the shoulder as hard as I can, fart and burp, talk about how hot other women are, discuss sports and tell her why her team sucks and mine is awesome. Then if she doesn’t offer to sleep with me at the end of the night I’m going to be mad because, in her words, she deserves to be treated as an equal.

News flash ladies. You don’t want guys to view you as an equal. You want guys to put you up on a pedestal and treat you like a queen. If we treat you like an equal we’re literally lowering your status. You fall down a couple ranks. Do you get it?

At least one of the ladies reading this article got it…

Comment 4

comment 5

Can We Make Common Sense Part Of Common Core?

There’s a Toyota satellite factory in the little town I live in. Seats for the Sienna mini-van are made there. Older people say it’s not a bad place to work. They pay is good, the benefits are decent. But there’s a lot of turnover. Most people I talk to about the place say the vast majority of the 20-something people they hire don’t stay more than a month or two.

When I moved here and started looking for jobs, I heard one thing: don’t go apply at ATS. That place is terrible. Ironically, it was always a 20-something that told me that.

The older people who’ve worked there for several years tell me that most of the people who come in and quit almost as soon as they’re hired don’t want to work; and I believe that. I’ve worked in a factory before. I know the culture there.

But one of the most troubling things I hear is about the ability of those people. Veterans of the ATS factory also say that the ones who want to work most usually have no idea about how to do things. They can’t use the tools and put two and two together when it comes to the machinery. They say rarely, they’ll get someone in there who wants to work, but ends up quitting out of frustration because they can’t keep up no matter how hard they try. They lack the necessary basic life skills to do their job effectively.

I don’t like the way the education system is headed in this country. Core Content Standards are becoming more and more impractical, unreasonable and altogether bat-crap crazy.

I’ve always said education should be subjective. For instance, I’ve never once in my adult life used Algebra. Simple adding, subtracting, multiplication and division have served me well. I will occasionally use a little geometry if I have a project I’m working on. But I’ve never for any reason needed to know what the square root of 42 is. I’ve never been in the grocery store and had to solve 5t-6x/43=7gx8q+5n to figure out how much I’m going to pay.

You know what I wish I’d learned in school? Economics, but real world economics: how to budget, how to calculate monthly expenses and plan for them, or how to calculate the cost of eating out vs. the cost of cooking at home.

I wish I’d learned how to do electrical work. I wish I’d learned how to work on engines both in my car and on my lawn mower. I wish I’d learned more about carpentry and how to use tools. I wish I’d learned about plumbing and common sense fixes to house hold problems – like where the gas valve is on your furnace.

Vocational classes were offered at my high school, but they were electives. I was required to take algebra, algebra 2, literature, sciences and other classes that I’ve never used in any part of my adult life. My elective classes were JROTC and band. I had little interest at that point in my life in learning how to do those things. After having to figure them out on my own and having to rely on my father-in-law to fill in the gaps for me, I wish I’d taken those classes.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe there’s a place for things like Algebra. But the truth is, most people don’t need to know much more than the basics. I think the basics should be required for all – call it conceptual mathematics, if you will. I think English classes are important. We need to know the nuances of our language: dialect, diction, spelling, grammar, devices, etc. But I don’t need to spend a semester studying the social meaning of Hamlet or the Canterbury Tales. Those are talking points to make you sound smart at best.

All of the classes that have fallen by the wayside and classified as electives – the ones that teach the most necessary life skills – should be the requirements. Everyone needs to take home ec and learn how to cook, do laundry, and household stuff – you’d be surprised at the people who don’t know how to do even the most basic household tasks.

Kids need to be taking that realistic baby doll home and learning how to care for a child – as a father of a one year old, believe me, it’s important. Kids need to know how to change tires – another skill that I didn’t have at a time I needed it. Kids need to know advanced first aid. In areas like mine, kids need to know about agriculture.

But those things have fallen by the wayside so that we can attempt to keep up with other countries – which is silly. Did you know the Japanese require girls to take fashion classes? No joke, my wife had a Japanese room mate in college who told her all about it. Japan is one of the educational leaders and pioneers in the world – and they require their girls to learn how to dress and act. The U.S. is declining and we’re trying to do away with gender roles. Just food for thought.

We’re living in an increasingly white collar world. What I mean is that so much emphasis has been put on going to college so you won’t have to work as a ditch digger, that we’re actually teaching kids college skills, when we have a shortage of ditch diggers. I believe very strongly that by 2025 a four year degree won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on because every market will be saturated.

Oh, and by the way, how many college grads do you know who are content to work in a factory (excluding those who might have degrees in manufacturing.) There are very few of them. I was one of them. I had a degree in journalism – why was I stuck in a cigarette factory in Russell Springs, Kentucky? Then, it was “why was I laid off from that job having to deliver pizzas?”

Blue collar jobs are considered undesirable in today’s society; whereas, 50 years ago, a good paying factory job was coveted. This entitlement mentality the U.S. has adopted, combined with the push to go to college and the loss of education on life skills is crippling the country.

People don’t understand the value of gainful employment anymore. If you have to work on a farm or in a factory, you’ve done something wrong in your life. Those are not jobs for today’s culture. Kids are taught in schools that they’re better than those jobs – above them because they have access to “the best educational material ever.” That point is debatable.

The result is a culture of people who don’t want to work. Rather than putting on their big boy and girl underwear, they’ll take a government check and “hold out for the right opportunity.” You wouldn’t believe the people who’ve told me that.

By the way it’s worth mentioning the ATS factory I talked about earlier, I think they pay 11 or 12 dollars an hour starting out and you get raises every quarter or at least every six months. My first journalism job – 300 dollars a week. That’s 7.50 an hour, if you’re doing the math. But I was salaried, not hourly and I was putting in 50-60 hours a week. That’s actually between 5 and 6 dollars an hour.

It’s only after 4 years of being in the journalism business that I’ve made it to the starting wage of the ATS factory. If we assume they get a 25 cent raise every quarter that’s 1 dollar per year. In the time I’ve been at my current job an ATS worker who worked the same amount of time as me would be making 13 or 14 dollars per hour. I’ve had a 50 cent raise in two years.

If you want to further compare my “white collar” job to the “blue collar” factory job – I still work a lot of overtime that I don’t get paid for. I never know what my schedule’s going to be week to week. I may get 10 hours of overtime, I may not make it to 40 hours. I’m on call 24/7. If something happens, I have to be able to drop what I’m doing at a moment’s notice.

ATS is a set schedule. Once they’re off, they’re off until the next time they have to be on. I’m sure they work some overtime, but they’re paid for every hour.

So someone tell me again why blue collar work is so terrible. Tell me why we’re teaching our kids that they need algebra instead of learning how to turn a wrench.  Life skills are more important. They may not be glamorous, they may not help you prep for college, but they will serve you better in life. Let’s leave advanced math concepts and anything above basics in every other subject to electives.

Let’s stop testing kids on what some rich, out of touch person in Washington D.C. or your respective state capitol says you should know and start focusing on common sense.

The Tale of the Fence

I once visited an old fort in Kentucky. I think it was fort Harrod, but I’m not sure. I was in elementary school so I don’t really remember. Either way, it was an old colonial settlement.

During the tour the guide said something that I’ve never forgotten.

He was showing us the fence. It was very typical of the time period. It looked like it was made of tree branches about four inches in diameter, each as straight as possible. The posts were buried in the ground and tied together with rope. It was a marvel of 18th century engineering.

Then our tour guide pointed out the fact that all of the posts were sharpened at the top. He asked us “why do you think those are sharpened like that?”

Crickets.

One kid got brave for a second and said is it to stick someone when they climb the fence?  He was really nice about it and chuckled a little as he said “well, I guess you could do that.”

When it finally became obvious to him that he wasn’t going to get the right answer, he told us the posts were sharpened at the top because if you were fighting off Native Americans you could stand at the top look through the spaces and see the entire field.  But if you were the one trying to attack the fort, your target was a lot smaller because all you could see was the little bit of person looking through the hole.

It blew my mind. It was so simple, but so brilliant.

Growing up, I’ve applied that lesson a lot; more so as of late. You see, life is all about perspective.

For example, when you’re young and don’t make a lot of money, you may think the rich are evil and don’t deserve the money they have because they’ve made it on the blood, sweat and tears on people like you. You work hard for them while they pay you a fraction of what you deserve. Your work is padding their pockets. The indignation!

So let’s say that motivates you to start your own business and you turn it into a multimillion dollar corporation. You have employees who work for you. You’ve become a millionaire because you went out and got what you deserved. So, how long is it until you realize you’ve become the “evil” rich person and your employees view you the same way you viewed your old boss no matter how much better you treat them?

People who don’t make a lot of money scream “tax the rich!” But the second they realize that the federal government takes 30 percent of your income once you get above the poverty line they start screaming “I’m taxed too much!”

Teachers want parents to do more, because they’re “Over worked and underpaid. Parents want teachers to do more because “they get summers off and make more money than I do.”

News reporters are evil because they put arrests in the paper or on the radio all the time. People are idiots because they can’t stay out of trouble.

Young people think old people are out of touch. Old people laugh at young people because they’ve been the idiot who thinks things should just change for the sake of change.

There are a million scenarios and there’s always two sides. You’re either the person at the fence or the person in the field.

As I’ve realized this, I’ve learned you can try all you want to get people to see things from your perspective. But until they’ve been there you’re wasting your time and breath because there are a lot of different perspectives on every topic imaginable. And one particular philosophy may not be completely correct, while another one may not be totally wrong. It’s all about your perspective. Perspective really matters.

People learn and grow as they get older and as their situations change. Their perspectives change.

There’s really not a point to this blog entry. They only advice I can give is try to see things from different perspectives sometime. If you’re at the fence, imagine you’re in the field. If you’re in the field, imagine you’re at the fence. Imagine you’re someone off to the side looking on. But don’t compromise what you believe. Just agree to disagree and move on if someone can’t be convinced. After all, opinions are like noses: everyone’s got one.

“Hope” for Double Standards

How many times in recent months have we heard the “domestic violence against women is unacceptable” narrative? It’s gotten so old. I’m tired of hearing how Ray Rice’s knock-out punch delivered to Janay Palmer at an Atlantic City casino is somehow NFL Commissioner Roger Godell’s fault because the NFL doesn’t have very good domestic violence policies in place.  You will hear that sentiment repeated for Jonathan Dwyer, Greg Hardy, and all the rest of the past NFL domestic violence cases that have been “swept under the rug.”

And maybe these guys should be held to a high standard. Personally, I don’t think someone should be punished at work for something that happened at home unless it interferes with your ability to do your job (say if it lands you in prison, for instance.) But these guys are in the public eye, ambassadors for their league and yada, yada, yada.

My opinion on whether or not they should lose their job is irrelevant for the purposes of this blog entry. No, I want to call attention to a glaring double standard – and what I’m going to say won’t be popular. I’m prepared to deal with that.

You know what the NFL guys have in common, why the American [Liberal] Media was so outraged by Rice, Hardy, Dwer, and company? It involved a man beating a woman. But there’s never any outrage when the tables are turned. Men can’t beat up on women, but if a woman beats up a man, no one bats an eye.

Today (10-6-14) it was announced that Hope Solo will be the goal keeper for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team as it tries to qualify for the World Cup. From the Associated Press…

“Goalkeeper Hope Solo and veterans Christine Rampone and Abby Wambach are among the players on the U.S. national team’s roster for the upcoming CONCACAF championship, which serves as qualifying for the World Cup next year in Canada.”

Hope Solo is facing two domestic violence charges and is scheduled to appear in court in November. Keep in mind, she’s a world class athlete whose training has earned her more strength and power than the average person – male or female.

In June, Solo allegedly beat up her 17-year-old nephew at a late night party. The police report says the kid – a minor no less – was left bleeding from the ear. That’s the kind of head trauma that could kill someone.

But there’s no media outrage. No one is calling for the head of the Commissioner of the CONCACAF or FIFA or any other governing body of professional soccer. No one’s calling for the resignation of U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Scott Blackmun. No one is demanding that Hope Solo resign. No one is freaking out about it. A woman hits a man and no one cares.

People will defend her. They’ll say she was drunk and upset and that somehow that justifies her actions. They’ll conveniently forget her immaturity on and off the soccer pitch, willingly flaunted in the last few years: testing positive for banned substances, going on TV while drunk, the time she criticized her coach and got kicked off the U.S. National team, and the fact that despite all that she still refuses to take responsibility for her actions.

They’ll forget her past violent tendencies, like the time when her boyfriend cheated on her and she punched that girl in the face.

No, her defenders will say she had a troubled home life growing up and that’s to blame for her actions now. They’ll talk about how her homeless father kidnapped her; how her mother was an alcoholic and wanted her to quit the national team because it was too expensive. But NFL players who’ve had it much worse are still responsible for what they do because of the old attitude “Boys don’t hit girls, but girls can hit boys.”

My thoughts are simple. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

The fact that this woman is still allowed to represent our country with minimal backlash is sickening. If you’re going to make Ray Rice the example for what happens to male domestic abusers, you should do the same to Hope Solo.

Kicking her off the team would also further the feminist agenda. Think about it. For years, they’ve argued “there’s no such thing as a weaker sex.” Allowing her to stay on the national team and represent our country says the opposite. “She’s a woman, she’s weaker than a man, therefore she’s justified.” Why are the feminists not outraged? I guess it’s because they don’t want to launch an attack on a woman with her status. But women who choose to be stay at home moms are the devil.

Christians: Crazy or Caring?

One of the most common things I hear about Christians is that they are hateful, intolerant, bigoted, homophobic hypocrites. Well, maybe I don’t hear that exact statement; I kind of just combined the most common things I hear about Christians.

I hate that people view Christians that way. Like with any group of people, the most ignorant amongst us tend to talk the loudest. I’m sure Westboro Baptist “Church” isn’t helping our image either.

It’s sad. Christ was and still is the biggest advocate of loving your fellow man more than yourself. There’s a concept out there called “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I don’t like that. I prefer “Love the person, politely disagree with their lifestyle choices while also recognizing you’re a sinner saved by grace who still struggles with your own issues.”

There’s the old adage “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I’ve long thought that was the worst attitude a Christian can have. It’s too often used as a crutch to justify sin and not take responsibility for our own actions. Instead our goal should be perfection and we should never blame our humanity for our shortcomings. You just have to kind of pull yourself up by your bootstraps, dust yourself off, and do better next time.  The key there is to let people see you admit that you’re wrong and that you’ll work on whatever sin you struggle with.

I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of justifying my sin, writing it off as a flaw in my human heart, but never actually trying to get better. My prayer is that God will help me overcome that. I’m making progress, slowly, but it’s still progress.

But because Christians have had this kind of attitude for so long and because we’ve been quick to admonish but not so quick to self examine, we’ve left a trail of destruction in our wake full of broken hearts and angry people. “You’re a sinner but you’re sin is worse than mine.” Ugh. No, no, no.

That makes it especially hard for the Christians who actually get it. The ignorance and idiocy of people like me has left those people speechless, but with a lot left to say.

I urge all people who aren’t Christians not to give up on us. Don’t write us all off because of the actions of a few.

One of my favorite videos of all time is Penn Says: The Gift of a Bible. If you’ve never seen it, click that link right now – don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Penn Jillette is an illusionist with the act Penn and Teller. He’s also a very convinced Atheist. In that video, he talks about a man who brought him a Gideon Bible at one of his shows. The man, in my opinion, is the embodiment of what Christians should be.

In the video, Penn said something that really resonated with me.

As a believer, I also believe in Hell. I believe that it’s a place you want to avoid at all costs. Contrary to what some think, it’s not going to be a party where someone gets to meet up with their old buddies and have a big ole sinful reunion. No, Hell is eternal torture. Hell is a place where you will beg for death, but death will never come. Hell is a place infinitely more terrible that anything anyone can imagine.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Penn basically says if you believe that this place exists, how much do you have to hate someone not to warn them about it. If you believe that there is a choice someone can make to avoid this place and spend their eternity in the equally unimaginable beauty of Heaven – how do you not tell them about it?

I believe Christians through the ages have forgotten about Hell. Churches don’t talk about it anymore because it’s all about how many butts are in the pews. Christians don’t talk about it anymore because they don’t want to offend someone.

But we need to be talking about it! We need to be telling people we believe in this place!

Hell is not a concept to be taken lightly. So I beg people to understand that when I talk about it, I’m not condemning you to hell or telling you there’s no hope for you. I genuinely care about you. I don’t hate you. I love you so much that I don’t want you to spend your eternity there.

That’s what Penn is talking about in his video – love someone so much that you would rather lose your dignity and pride than to see them go to Hell. You don’t have to accept what you believe is a sinful behavior, but you do have to communicate love and the fact that you care about their soul.

That’s where Christians have failed. We’ve been so wrapped up in getting people into the church to pad our numbers we’ve forgotten the essential element of being a Christian: We care about you!

But we come across as greedy, selfish, and all of those other things that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

People have no respect for Christians, because we’re not earning it. We’re not getting into the communities and ministering to people; not showing them that we are sinners too. We’re not telling them about the unspeakable horror that is eternity in Hell, or if we are we’re telling them there’s no hope for them!

It is essential that we learn to love people no matter what they struggle with, where they come from, or where they’ve been. We have to make people understand that we believe in Hell and communicate that the only thing we want as believers is for them to avoid spending their eternity there.

Christians, here’s how you do it. Get in your bible. Learn the scriptures. Identify what you struggle with and resolve yourself to work on it. Get into a good church where you have a community of believers around you that will uplift you. Apply the scriptures. Acts chapter 1 says to take the gospel to the ends of the earth; as far as the east is to the west.

Don’t compromise. If it’s sin, it’s sin. You have it, they have it, we all have it. The difference is Christians have accepted Christs gift of the sacrifice on the cross. Some people won’t like that. You’re job is not to sugarcoat the scriptures. You’re job is to take the gospel to the people and let them make their own decision.

And here’s the biggest key of it all: love. Love the people. Disagree with their lifestyles all you want to, but do it in a way that conveys love and understanding.

Hopefully, if we can convey love and the message that we care enough about people to warn them about Hell, people will listen.