Exploring the Social Imagination

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Group Think, "either you are with us or against us"

Group Think, "either you are with us or against us"... so many notable people have made this statement; from Lenin, Mussolini, to George W. Bush to Hillary Clinton for example. They are speaking for the State. By now you are screaming, what about Jesus, he said it first. No. He said, if you are not with 'me'... there is a difference. He meant with me as in believe in me for you are mine, rejecting that (by your own will) is rejecting Him. In doing that, your end is of your own doing. Doesn't that mean the same even though we change the pronoun to 'we'? Essentially, yes. What is different is that 'we' implies the State = Man. But didn't I just say that man is God if we just recognize it in ourselves? Yes, if we recognize that in one's self is the Kingdom of Heaven, we are in God and He is in us.  We are not man for himself and of himself. That is the difference. When man fell from the garden he suddenly saw only himself in the way that life becomes every man for himself; and this breeds greed. In this fallen world, man knows that this is risky business; so, he makes laws to limit other men's freedom (to limit him from getting ahead) never thinking that he also limits his own. He discovers that cannot make enough laws... yet he keeps making them and they grow and grow into a huge overriding entity = The State. This becomes his god and it is called 'Group Think', where finally no man can think for himself about anything and certainly not about God. In group think, you don't want to upset the applecart and be on the outs with the State where you now place your freedom (false freedom), but since you drove out God, you now go along... to get along and this what everyone must do in order to be somebody (which is now nobody). You find yourself doing things that you would not have chosen for yourself and certainly not what God would have chosen for you.
This is our culture today = group think. If you say anything that the group does not agree with surly you will find yourself on the outside. Soren Kierkegaard was the first actually to recognize the danger in this... He said, there is no truth in the masses. For Kierkegaard, the God-relationship is worked out in the inner man. Kierkegaard has often been criticized for being anti-clerical and anti-ecclesiastical. But in fact, he was only against clerics who falsified the truth of the Gospel, and he was against the chatter of the mindless congregation.  In the Gospel, we can find that Jesus spoke many truths,... the best to remember is that "No one can serve two masters... you cannot serve both God and Money." Matthew 6:24  in this sense, basing on how the State comes into existence, essentially 'greed' begets the State.

 In Psalm 146, we read "do not put your trust in mortal men who cannot save."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Global Problem - the Selfie Culture - How it is Changing Society?

Another Global Problem is the Selfie Culture; yes, not just here in America but globally it has become not only a pastime but an indulgence in self idolatry. 


In some social discussions, sociologists are calling this phenomenon the 'rise of the selfie'.  Is this a serious determinant to society? As a sociologist and a Christian the answer to that question is Yes. It is so because firstly it is a major illustration of indulgence in self idolatry linked to the virtual reality of today's popular telecommunications platforms which is hardly the venue for healthy social interaction. Secondly, from a sociologists point of view, the later of the prior sentence says it all. Face to face interaction has been and is the healthiest means for social interaction. In this way, we are most able to put  one's self into someone else's shoes as George H. Mead  proclaimed; or the better way to experience the self is via the "looking glass self" a concept formed by Charles H. Cooley which posited that we need other people to engage with to better understand ourselves (we know who we are and are not through the interaction with someone else in a face to face situation) and to build ourselves socially, into a healthy and successful social composite. Of course, argument can be made that twitter, facebook and other platforms allow this to happen and don't have to be face to face which could lead to conflict, which could cause harm, which could hurt someone's feelings... wait a minute, those kind of 'bad' things happen using those 'nice' social platforms... So, what did Cooley mean? The looking glass self is the experience of the self that is a projection by the self onto someone else, to understand who you are and are not. What does that mean? It means that as you project who you think you are and are not onto someone else, you learn who you 'really' are and 'really' are not... not who you think you are and are not.  Of course, the locus of society is in the mind as Cooley also said but through the engagement with another person, we are better able to see our-self for what/who we are rather than a self imagined through a curtain. It is more tangible giving us a sense of either belonging or not belonging to a group as we encounter more and more other selves who are engaged in the same activity in a place, this binds us to a place and creates social 'self' stability. Cooley would in fact say this if he were alive today, that in order that even a 'selfie' makes sense to us, we need to know that other selves are out there looking at them. Again, some might say that is enough to call it social interaction. Again, I would argue that it is the threshold for social departure, disengagement with face to face interaction and the risk of greater social instability and even social decay.

This is a serious problem for not only local social environments but also for the global community. We cannot think we understand someone else implicitly from the other side of the globe just because we exchanged selfies or chatted on fb. Lost in translation still applies here. Surprisingly, I have heard that such loss does not matter, the content is the selfie and that is enough. Really? Perhaps, if we are talking about the creation of a totally new kind of society- social reality which would be a border-less low grade shallow and culturally deprived consumer driven self indulged society that does not care about anything but the present... the present self.  I think this is dangerous territory for the local and global community. And, laughably the come back to that is that national borders/boundaries don't matter. That maybe, but the self ...any self would become an island with no boundary; and thus, you would have no group to define, no culture, no society.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

To Be Loved or Feared - God's Imagination for Global Relations

Global Relations...To Be Loved or To Be Feared?  God’s Imagination for Global Relations – Man’s Imagination can be diplomatic when his benefits are high and there is no need or little need for military invention- the benefits that outweigh conflict. Even though man has advanced technological, his ability to resolve issues remains close to what it was a thousand of years ago or more. In the last post, it was proposed how conflict arises. Place has everything to do with who you are and what you have. Men have been appearing in places not their own, invading and annexing ‘stepping in’ for a long time. Is that God’s imagination? If we read Acts 17:24, unless directed by God, then we have to answer No.
However, it seems impossible to stay in the place where God has put us; the result of living in this fallen world. When it comes to global relationships, in this fallen world, we can ask what God would imagine as better, to be Loved or Feared.
What does Scripture say? Dt.6:13 "Fear the Lord your God, serve Him... Dt. 31:12 "and learn to fear the Lord your God." Ps 19:9 "The fear of the Lord is pure.." Ps 111:10 "Fear of the Lord is the beginning." Pr 8:13 "To fear the Lord is to hate evil" Isa 11:3 delight in the fear of the Lord." Lk 12:5 " I will show you whom you should fear." Php 2:12 "to work out your salvation with fear" and 1 Jn 4:18 "But perfect love drives out fear." This last quote from Scripture tells us about God's love. His love is perfect love and only His perfect love can drive out fear. Understand, God does not want us to live in fear of Him as in to be afraid. Looking at Scripture, to fear the Lord means to be in awe and respect of his perfect love. Because we live in a fallen world where perfect love does not exist, we need to fear God (have awe and respect) for his perfect love which we cannot attain in this fallen world. Thus, in this fallen world, human love which is not perfect cannot drive out fear. Again, to fear the Lord means, in this fallen world, that we must have awe and respect for His perfect. What does any of that have to do with Global Relations? That is a good question.
As a participant in global relations, is it better to be loved or to be feared? An illustration might be used here. There was a mob movie years ago (The Bronx Tale) in which a young boy asked the head 'boss' gangster "what is better, to be loved or to be feared?" The boss answered, "some would say that it is better to be loved by your neighbors because if they love you... they will be loyal to you, the only problem with that is that people can fall out of love (we can see many people today falling out of love with God in this fallen world) Then, they become your enemy" (in this fallen world, we can see many people today becoming the enemy of God).  The boss continued... "I say it is better to be feared because when people fear you they will be too afraid to be disloyal; thus, you are not dependent on their love to be loyal to you" (in this fallen world, those who fear God, hold Him in awe and respect, remain loyal to Him, can rest in Him and His perfect Love). God’s Imagination can apply to all kinds of relationships and even international relations, for the same reasons above. When considering global relations, it is better to be the kind of leader that is feared ... one who walks softly and carries a big stick (T.Roosevelt). It goes without saying that a good leader does not go around bopping people on the head or threatening to cause bodily harm or bring total destruction. A good leader in this fallen world is wise, respected by his/her own people and even more 'feared' (in awe and respect) by all others.
*Sociological note, according to a number of studies/statistics, when asked, men say that respect is most important to them in their relationships. In Dr. Emerson Eggerichs book, called "Love and Respect" it says that for men respect is much more important than love. Men communicate with each other with respect. And, they understand it more than love. The book proposes (using studies to prove) that men prefer respect.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

'Place' in God's 'Social' Imagination

Acts 17:24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us."

What is going on in the world today? Tension exists between people who live together. However, conflict is caused and or brought on by outsiders who appear, invade, or just step into the local arena; whether it is a family, neighborhood, town, county, state or nation. They are not from here they are from there. Yet, they (the outsiders) think that they have some right to others' local resources or have a better idea for their local situation... 'we know better than those local people who are living without a sense of what they really have or could have, they don't see the potential in what they have. They need 'us' to tell them what is good for them: they need consultants, they need investment analysts, they need our advice, they need our money, they need to be told what is good for them for their own good because they are probably like us or could be and just don't know it yet...But, we know they need 'us'. We justify appearing, invading, stepping in, we think we have the right reasons, but so do others who do the same. We say they are bad, we say they are bad. All in all, we all want the same thing- what they have. This has been socio-historical phenomenon for ages. The Roman Empire is one of the best examples, not to mention the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, the Soviet Union, China, Russia and the list could go on. When outside have a strong interest for whatever is not 'really' theirs, when they want what is on the other side of the fence, we can expect conflict. Greed is a human condition and it has no bounds. Maybe it is the survival of the fittest. That was the motivation in the past and it is now. We have yet to learn from history, though we have to learn from history... but then "There is nothing new under the sun" Ecclesiastes 1:9

Invasion is pretty clear. Stepping in seems rather helpful but (invasion and stepping in), though on the opposite ends of conflict spectrum, both still have the same agenda, something to be gained. Now, there may be a greater question about those who appear... what does that mean? People who appear may just want to be integrated in. Is that possible without conflict? Yes, if those who appear are they willing to become like the group that they appear to want to be in with? If not, then we can expect conflict as invasion is supposed. If those who appear, want to and proclaim that they are willing to integrate, then no conflict will ensue as long as those who appear want to and can fully integrate; as they succeed in their integration, there will not be conflict... there will be infusion. Could there be a question about who was there first? Yes, and there will be conflict. How will that resolve? Integration is the only way to ensure peace. Who will be the host, who will have that position must be decided? That is the difficult question and decision. If decided without conflict, then the host must come up with an integration strategy and the guest must integrate. Subordination and domination are the social dynamics that will come into this event as they (social dynamics) sustain any and every social reality; those undergoing social change and those social realities that remain in their present state. Social dynamics are the energy forces of social reality; they keep social reality from entropy. Because such forces must be engaged or face entropy, there cannot be all just winners or all just losers, there must be winners and losers. There must be a balance arrived at through legitimated acts of submission and domination. Balance does not mean all equal as in the same. It means that an equal amount of subordination and domination  has been reached.

What happens to the local person in any of these scenarios? Often they are either integrated, annexed, taken over or removed. The United States has been involved with all of these: integration of Immigrants, annexation of Mexican land and Mexicans (Treaty of Guadeloupe Hildalgo 1848), taking over Indians lands, Puerto Rico - the U.S. invaded Puerto Rico with a landing at Guanica and Hawaii - in 1993 President Clinton, apologized for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom and lastly removal... native Indians from their land.
...Interesting is that when it comes to neighborhoods, or towns... we still call it annexation.
Perhaps, we should all stay put in our place!  Acts 17:24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth, and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Even the Sociologist will tell you that Family is vital for Social Stablity

Family is important. I am sure everyone will agree. Yet, as I listen to my favorite Christian radio programs, and I talk to people hearing their issues, I am saddened to hear so many stories about broken families. I am not just referring to divorce, but broken in many places and especially broken in relations with extended family: grandparents, parent in-laws, brothers and sisters, cousins and aunts and uncles... how can this be? How can Christian (or other) individuals find themselves in this country homeless, struggling to make ends meet, or to not have the care of extended family readily available. How is the possible?
Are we as Americans so embedded in this culture of 'mine', that we cannot even share with loved ones, with family? We have been ingrained with the idea of private property, this is mine, my house, you are under my roof! Get out and get your own life... my answer to that "I thought I had my own life, my own family, my own support group." Yet, many Americans think that relying on family is a transgression in this culture of individuality and self determinism. This is a tragedy. The rebuttal I often get is usually, "I cannot live under the same roof with them, I need my space, I want my own things, I don't want what they want, nor do I like what they do, I am different, I am my own person. Speaking as a Christian... If you hear that, if you say that, you are not yet of the Kingdom of God. As children of God, we need to be together, we need to share our lives, our homes, our food, our clothing with our family. Speaking as perhaps a secular humanist would...If all families practiced togetherness, the world (the US) would be a better place. If we want a better life for ourselves and children, then we need to forgive each other, love each other and live together under one roof, practically and spiritually! This... the State cannot and should not provide. Just read my post on the State vs. the Village.

1 Ti 5:8 " If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. This quote from 1 Timothy is not meant to point fingers, to condemn or to criticize; but to get people 'Christians' to wake up and stop living as independent islands from each other and especially from family. The only entity to benefit from independent islands of individuals is the State, the overarching entity which is that sui generis as Durkheim referred.

Sacred Pathways, Understanding our 'social relationship' with the Lord

In Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas identifies and examines nine different spiritual paths. What exactly does this mean? Each of us has a different approach as to how we relate easiest with God. Each of us grows spiritually in different ways. Gary Thomas leads us through nine major categories, showing us the strengths and weakness of each one. And after each of them, he offers a few questions, to help identify if that particular pathway is one of the reader’s stronger characteristics.
Naturalists: Loving God Out of Doors
The naturalist sounds like exactly what it is: someone who prefers to leave everything behind and head into the great outdoors to connect with God. A walk beside the river or through the woods is more worshipful than reading a book or listening to a sermon. Naturalists are moved by God’s creation. A view from a mountaintop connects them closer to God than a classical cathedral ever will. Naturalists seek God by surrounding themselves with all that he has made.
Sensates: Loving God With The Senses
Sensates love to be lost in the awe and wonder of God. Sights, sounds, and scents add to the worship experience. A sensate desires to connect with God through the senses, and the more overwhelming, the better. Experiencing God though the five senses is a most effective inroad into the heart of the sensate.
Traditionalists: Loving God Through Ritual And Symbol
Traditionalists are fed by the classic and historic dimensions of the faith: ritual, liturgy, sacraments, and symbols. The traditionalist has a desire for worship to have a ritual and structure; without these, he feels disconnected from God. Traditionalists tend to be very disciplined and organized in their faith.
Ascetics: Loving God in Solitude And Simplicity
The ascetic would love nothing more than to spend every waking hour alone in prayer. The ascetic needs none of the symbols and structure of faith; anything along those lines would simply be a distraction. Ascetics tend to isolate themselves from others and any organized structure. Frequently seen as introspective, leaving everything behind in his quest for God is no trouble for the ascetic.
Activist: Loving God Through Confrontation
Activists love to set things right, even if that means confronting someone or something head on. The activist is quick to jump into a cause, or several of them, if it helps wage the war against injustice. The activist feels closest to God when she is standing against evil and calling sinners to repentance.
Caregivers: Loving God By Loving Others
The caregiver is a servant. Serving another is the quickest way for this person to connect to God. The caregiver sees Christ in those who are needy, poor and downtrodden. The caregiver’s faith is built by serving others. Caregivers often display the deepest compassion, seeing the needs of others and identifying practical ways to meet those needs.
Enthusiasts: Loving God With Mystery And Celebration
The enthusiast loves the excitement and mystery of worship. Joyful celebration is crucial to the growing faith of this type of person. God moves by moving their hearts. If they don’t feel moved during their worship, they wonder if they’ve experienced God at all. With some similarities to the sensate, the enthusiast doesn’t want to just know concepts; he wants to experience them to the fullest.
Contemplatives: Loving God Through Adoration
A contemplative would refer to God as their lover. The idea of a loving Father or Bridegroom depicts their relationship with God very accurately. The person who is a contemplative seeks to love God with his entire being: his heart, soul, mind and strength. The contemplative is a very humble person, seeking nothing else than to sit at the feet of the Savior.
Intellectuals: Loving God With The Mind
Intellectuals live in the world of concepts. Studying and learning are a prime way that this type of person experiences God to the fullest. Understanding doctrine and other key points about Christianity and the faith is the best type of connection for this person. The intellectual gets fed when they learn or grasp something new about God or their faith.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Its a Brave New World - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

Its a Brave New World out there. How? Why?... all kinds of people are asking that. People who are engaged in this 21st century social reality with its multiplex of technological gadgets and global world markets changing the way people live locally. Never before has this happened in so many places at the same time or in the same time frame. It is more frightening that ever before given the speed of it and the narrow window of adaptation to it. Aside of that, there is a growing imbalance 'disparity' (dissimilar in kind) between social classes. Not that disparity never existed among classes, but the cost of disparity is growing faster than the experience of it. It seems that the elites and their economists  have forgotten that disparity has a cost. Likely, they are well aware of what is going on, even ushering in disparity. Why? Because the world population is growing and it is not possible that everyone everywhere can live on a high standard or have a life of luxury; and, as of late, an in between standard is less and less feasible. The middle classes (low/high) are shrinking and dissolving. Disparity has a cost that the elites cannot justifying paying since it does not bring them a profit, costing them money is not an option. How then to deal with disparity, the cost of it? The way to do that is to force the cost down or eliminate the mechanism for it. How? Limit disparity. How to do that? Limit those experiencing disparity and or those in economic despair- the source of disparity. That would be a radical social engineering undertaking. Who wouldn't want to get on board with limiting disparity? Is it possible? The Sabido Methodology could be applied. But, what would be the end goal... limit disparity of course? Again, is that possible? Essentially, the end goal would be to have everyone on the same page: politically and economically, the elites and the extraordinary. These two groups can find benefits among themselves. So, what strategy could be used? Considering our humanity, gas chambers would be out of the question.  But, maybe concentration camps or reservations, or euthanasia? Horrible as that sounds, in retrospect of human history, it has been done. Perhaps, it would be enough to change the whole world from free market to a grand socialism engineered and controlled from the top down system. After all, according to the world system theory, only a few can be at the top controlling naturally resources and their allocation. Socialism is an economic order (controlled by an elite authority) whereby everyone is allotted food, clothing, shelter and even prestige based on their merit and their needs ... what they need is based on or according to their 'appreciated' merit. In this way, if your merit is low, your needs will be low, or lower compared to those whose merit is high. Effectively, people would not question this world order because it would be assigned as legitimate. How? It would be marketed to them as the norm as beneficial to all, and it would be enforced because it is beneficial. It would be laid over them like a brides veil, softly and sublimely hiding them from the truth. Those who are elite or extraordinary would live a beautiful life of luxury and not even blink an eye in that they don't deserve it. For everyone else, it could be quite ugly if they don't accept it. It could be just as beautiful if they do accept it... if it is socially engineered correctly, we would go about with rose colored classes. Did you ever read Lem's "The Futurological Congress?"
All in all, it will depend on who you are. Certainly, any Christian still around in this world system would know that though they are in this world system, they are not of it. Amen!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christian Sociological View of the Soul

Some people don't believe in the existence of a soul. I being a Christian have always known that the soul exists (as an embodiment of qualities that is the essence of who you are) and if fact, it is strange to think of existence without having one. I just heard an excellent Christian argument for the existence of the soul and as a sociologist, I think that it can also be used to describe the social actor as an entity equipped and prepared for social interaction. The soul was described as the integration board for the body (including all parts and the brain), mind, senses, skills, physical features and or attributes that provide an illustration 'picture' of the individual. The soul integrates all these different functions and or attributes in a whole functioning entity. When I wrote my doctoral thesis, I wrote on the social imagination as having 3 aspects. The first aspect was seen as the source of the imagination, the second aspect the avatar or body as a measure of components and attributes; in part, a product of the source of the imagination and in part, a tabula rasa that is open to acquiring necessary information through the socialization process; the means to be linked in so to speak. The last aspect was the concept/creative function whereby the source and components 'attributes' come together in order that the avatar is an interacting entity which is able to overcome the temporal condition of existence in order to focus on the development and or growth of the social imagination's three aspects essentially allowing for expansion of the the whole social imagination. In view of this, I would say that the soul is the concept / creative function (in my writings about social imagination) which brings together the other aspects into a functioning whole for the purpose of sustaining its essences and moreover, for the expansion of the soul.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Romans 13, Obey Government, what does that mean in God's Imagination?

"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul." Mahatma Gandhi. 

In Romans, we can read to obey the 'government/authorities' (depending on which Bible you read). And, as we read further that anyone who does not obey the government, is in fact rebelling against God. Romans 13. Considering when Paul wrote that, he lived in a world where all governments were autocracies 'kings reined or Caesars'. People had no influence over laws. Gandhi, on the other hand, was living in a time and place where the values of citizen government were well known. In ancient times you were either a lawbreaker or a law follower. Kings and Emperors made laws not the people. Paul believed that Christians should not be lawless people but under the protection of the law (insofar as it did not conflict with their faith) and not give excuse for the government to persecute them. However, in our society, the citizens are supposed to be directly involved in making laws. We are the government ( at least that is how our Founders saw it; they through their Christian sociocultural and religious orientation could think no other way). Through Christianity, they realized the importance of individuality.  Martin Luther gave Christianity the self aware individual who is now allowed and encouraged to seek a virtuous life... through his/her pursuit of happiness; this produced the American.   So since we in the United States make the laws ( and not some king), we have the duty to treat the laws as breakable when they have been created either intentionally or unintentionally to violate the social contract which our Founding Fathers and we call  the Constitution.
Therefore, Gandhi was right a good person, should resist an evil system and or charge it with failure to uphold the Constitution and charge it with failure to promote and sustain the granted and guaranteed civil liberties defined in the Bill of Rights. And, the Romans 13 is good for today as Christians because we are the government, and we should obey our authority - we the people. In that realization, we are again asking who are we 'the people'. Christians and non Christian Americans are finding this difficult to do? As a sociologist and a Christian I can answer yes. Why? Because, we are less and less a unified society bound by the same beliefs about freedom, private property, the pursuit of happiness and traditions. So, Who are we? Some say that regardless of who we are, the State knows who/what it is and such a State is a necessary overriding mediator that will equally share provision and guarantee everyone's 'equal' pursuit of happiness. I could agree. However, a free society whereby we the people rule, there could never and should never exist such a State. Today, we face the evil system Gandhi spoke of.  And, so today, we have to re-affirm our position 'we the people' as bound to and by our given Constitution and we have to re-assert our right to practice religion and right to pursue happiness which we are already guaranteed by our precious American doctrines; and that is definitely in God's imagination.

Friday, April 18, 2014

One World Imagination, One Global Imagination???

One World Imagination, One Global Imagination is that possible? Perhaps... or why not if we are all on the same page - same social imagination, right? For social engineers, this is possible. Their agenda is to get everyone on the same page. How is that possible given the diversity of people on this earth? That is a good question. The globalists, bankers and corporate entities, seem to think that they can get everyone on the same page by having everyone buy into the American Dream. What is that? Consumerism! The US has imported this throughout the world to places that one could never have imagined, i.e. Afghanistan had Dairy Queen and Burger King and Coke a Cola introduced to them (indirectly but it was intentional) and they were led to believe that they too can have a voice in their country by voting. If you have watched the news media, you have seen what that situation has been like. People selling off their voting ids... We as Americans blame it on their culture and we blame most of the world's problems on those who cannot see the 'light' of western thinking. What are we saying then? We are saying that a global world order would work if more people were like us, open to western ideas and civil society and that means to be creative and to consume creativity which can deliver you in many ways, especially in your well being - financially. What about established religion and or other world views in this global world order? Another good question. There is a campaign to remove religions of the world or at least their doctrine 'world view' that detours creativity and its consumption. In saying that, a new religion or doctrine must replace them and that is the idea of Deism which upholds man's creativity as the ultimate goal, and the means justify that pursuit.
This 'new' religion does not claim that God does not exist just that he is unknowable and he interacts with the universe only in terms of what appears significant to him. Man must therefore appear significant/extraordinary to him.
The Christian God's imagination is about relationship with God and that man's work on earth is not countable in His Kingdom only belief in Him and the promise of eternal life through Him. This is not necessary in the deist state of mind. Their struggle is to win over God; moreover, to become like him through their individual extraordinary creative pursuits. Why is this the agenda? We have come to a point in our existence on earth whereby the population is growing, while at the same time in some places births are low, there is an increasing aging population. There is also a growing disparity between the haves and the have nots. How is that happening? It is due to technology and largely due to increasing globalization of the modern world which means that governments have decreasing control over activities within the territory. For example, commercial enterprises operate on an international scale and can move resources from state to state at will. The activities of global financial markets can totally destabilized governments which have to a large extent lost control over their own economies. For the deist this is revelation! Why? This is their goal. For them only one government is necessary when everyone is on the same page. The goal in this new world imagination is extraordinary creativity; this is new world order agenda, this is the 'new religion'. If you cannot get on the same page, be extraordinary in this new religion or even extraordinarily creative then elimination is likely.
How is this going to come to fruition? According to globalization champion Thomas Friedman, "...globalization is in so many ways Americanization: globalization wears Mickey Mouse ears, it drinks Pepsi and Coke, eats Big Macs, does its computing on an IBM laptop with Windows 98. Many societies around the world can't get enough of it, but others see it as a fundamental threat." Many people around the world are jumping on this same page. It appears very attractive. It even seems right in their mind the more they are subjected to it, the more it pays off, the more likely they will be to jump in and embrace it. As Christians we should already know this agenda, it is of Satan, for he went to Eve in the Garden and he said "eat this (from the tree of knowledge) and you will be like God." Genesis 3:4
As a Christian, this was and is a forewarning of what was to come, what we see happening now because of that original sin- disobedience of God's order, leaving "falling away from' His imagination in which we had a relationship with God whereat we did not have to work to be Him or to be creative as He was nor to be extraordinary because we already were ...in Him. Once Eve took that bite or (bit of data into her program) she was outside of God's imagination and in competition with Him as was and still is Satan... Satan left God's Imagination and his goal is not to get back into a relationship with God but to usurp Him and His Imagination. Satan's imagination is a corrupt program and it cannot be saved. Deists are outside of God's Imagination and they will remain outside not because God does wants it that way, but because they do. The 'Hell' we read about in the Bible is for those who cannot exist in His Imagination.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The State Vs. The Village

The State vs the Village.
In the previous blog, the case was made why the state and the village are not and cannot be the same. So when we say the village can raise a child, it can and it does and it should. The state should not because the state is not the same as a village. The village is about tradition and continuity of being in a place with others who are like minded in that place. Often those who occupy a village are racially and ethnically homogenius.
Native American Indian tribes are a good example of a village as they remain in their place in their identity and in their tradition which they uphold through ritual and habit of the heart - connectedness in the same spirit.
We could argue that such 'tribes' can exist among us even today in our 21st century. We could observe in our cities and suburbs a 'village' mentality. You may find people of different race, ethnicity, and even religion living as a 'village'. In saying that, we have to realize that it is only possible when those as 'villagers' remain in their place, identity and practice traditions in order to sustain and promote continuity in a place, and they find themselves able to do that because they are like minded of the same spirit. So, in this way, the village can raise a child... and in saying that... the state can stay out. In fact, there is no reason for the state to be there in the village.

The State vs. the Village.
The state is a set of institutions governing a particular territory with a capacity to make laws regulating the conduct of the people within that territory and supported by revenue deriving from taxation. The capacity to make and enforce law is dependent upon the state's monopoly of legitimate force.
The village is not a set of institutions in the same way as the state. The village is about tradition in a place and those traditions remain 'are practiced' as they are successful (sustaining) for the villagers in a place. Traditions contain rights of passage, clearly defined role relationships (those that will create and bring up new villagers), and a strong sense of community grounded in a place.

Unfortunately, many people in this 21st century live in a state. Today, the state is suffering.Why? Due to the increasing globalization of the modern world government have decreasing control over activities within the territory 'state. For example, commercial enterprises operate on an international scale and can move resources from state to state at will. the activities of global financial markets can totally destabilize governments, which have to a large extent lost control over their own economies.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whose Village?

Had an interesting conversation the other day inspired by the incident in which Hillary Clinton had a shoe thrown at her. The person in this discussion reminded me of Hilliary's great speech in which she said that it takes a village to raise a child- old African philosophy. I said, I agree but whose village. You see if we apply that philosophy literally and practically then we must acknowledge that the village knows who it is / what it is and who it is not/what it is not. Such a village has group identity, solidarity, it has a bloodline and connectedness to a place; and therefore, it can trust that the group 'village' knows itself and what it is about. And, yes in this way a village can raise a child/children. I ask then who are we, what village do we belong to here in the United States. What village is Hillary Clinton imagining? The response was the State. Well I said, there a personality years ago in Europe who had the same idea and that idea led to millions of Jews being killed. The State (a union of men under the law) cannot be a village (a group of people who live in a place and are connected to that place by tradition). It is a thing and that thing can get out of hand ...replacing the village.
Is there anything wrong with the State after all it is a union of men.  In any society, men have to agree on the law. It is in this agreement that they can form a union. This is why our Founding Fathers came together to discuss the law that they could all get under and become a union of men under the law ... laws that they agreed on. In this way, they become connected to a place and traditions arise out of practices such law which sustains them in their union.
If the union of men under law begins to decay or dissolve, then we must look at the group of men, has the group in terms of who (traditionally) and what (ideologically) changed? If yes, then we can assume that the law has changed too or has yet to be changed.  Laws that have initially good intentions, can lead to both the building up of unions of men (when they agree on the law) and at the same time if there arises traditional imbalance or loss of tradition among men then the law can cause unforeseen destructive breakdown in the union of those men. 
The village never loses its tradition, rather it loses people. Those who do not wish to practice the traditions leave the village only to create new villages in which they create new traditions. Ironically, even when we disagree with traditions, we replace them with new ones because tradition sustains a group in a place.
Why can't a State raise a child or be the 'village'? I am not saying it can't. Only that if it is, it must have traditions like a village, which provide identity, security and comfort. It has to know who its villagers are and stand for them. It must also know that there is a chance that some of its villagers can fall away from it and want to leave. It cannot force people to stay and force people to like its tradition. And, yet villagers who don't like the 'States' traditions, should be able to leave and should not stay seeking to change and or even destroy the State 'village' so that it fits to them. Better to leave and start their own village.  Only in this way can they know who they are and are not.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why the Increase of Autism in Society?

1 in 68 Children Now Has a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Why?

With rates of the disorder yet again rising according to new CDC numbers, a look at how doctors are diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children, and what might be done better. 
Not many people, parents, doctors, pastors ever think to consider this problem as being spiritual dysfunction or nonalignment. I think there is a definite connection between the increasing rate of autism and spiritual decline and more over social decay both of which are intertwined.
I have a son who is on the autistic spectrum. Before he was born and afterwards, I was insecure about my life, about my situation and the place I was living. I did not have my parents near me. I was not in a good relationship with the Lord. I felt abandoned and alone. I could not find myself in the society I was in and I could not find God in it. I was unable to impart the necessary information to my infant. As I have read, early brain development requires certain information that stimulates other brain development. That certain information is imparted by the mother, even before birth. The information contains trust, security, identity of self and group as well as connectedness to a place which arises from successful functioning social hierarchy of people in a place; including spouse and immediate family. In my own work as a social scientist, I have written extensively on this. 
The Bible tells us (Ephesians 5 and 6, Col 4:18, Titus 2) there is a certain family order necessary for healthy social function and development and of course family stability in a place. 
When that information is lacking, missing, or too fragmented, the infant will not receive all of or none of that important information necessary for brain development. 
This is my theory - when that important information is not given or is missing, brain development is slow or does not happen as it should and cognitive dysfunction occurs, even the condition of autism. 

So why the increased rate in the US and in other countries? I think it stems from what I described above as important even critical information that infants need for early brain development. What is the cause of this failing in information transmission? 
For my own situation and the observations I made as a sociologist, I conclude that the rise in autism society itself which is in a state of decay and or radical change causing an identity crisis for the whole group and for individual entities in it.  I mean exactly that society no longer considers the importance role of wife and mother, society has been devaluing women in these roles. More and more often we can see women in media portrayed either as sex bombs or corporate executives or a combination of those two a sexy career ladder climbing industrialist type. Occasionally, we may see a traditional mom. The larger discussion today is geared toward independent persons and their sexual orientation and in that discussion there is the idea that women should be self-determined, equal to men. To compound this even more are the discussions of gender 'what is it and how society has created such unfair conditions/expectations'.  
When a society looses sight of who they are and the role expectation, it will fall into decay. Yes, we do have children being born and the rate of single moms is growing which is a sign of this decay. For those that are married and decide to have children, they are doing so late in life so that they can build themselves up and acquire the better material goods which they think children need. And, we can see very young mothers growing early all of them, in any age, are finding themselves confronted with societies disillusionment with gender and role relationships. 
Lastly, the economy has put a weight on families and mothers are working outside the home when they may in fact prefer to be home. What kind of information is mother imparting with this on her mind; worse yet if she is not being supported by society (which includes her husband in that ) and second if she is not being guided by and or in a relationship (which includes her husband as he is over her in God's order) with the Lord. 
I think the statistics speak for themselves.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Culture is Learned, So... What Do We Learn?

If Culture is learned, what do we learn?
That is a good question. Culture is learned through socialization. Socialization starts with the mother. Jesus' life started with His mother. From mother social reality is imparted, she is the source of social information.
 All the information mother has at the time we are born is imparted or even embedded in us. She may not be well informed, she may have misinformation or lack information. How can we trust that mother has good information? If we consider her role in relation to others, assuming she knows her role in relation to others, then we can be sure that she has the necessary information. What role is that? It is the role of being a mother, wife and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mother imparts the knowledge of the fallen world and that through Christ we are saved. How is that possible? Mother nurses, mother soothes, mother caresses, mother sings, mother is there. How does the infant know this is a fallen world? Firstly, through the birth process, and through other information (fears, worries, pain i.e.) acquired in relation with mother who is in relation to father as both exist in this fallen world. And, both mother and father are in relation to God. Ephesians 5:22
What about culture? That information also comes through socialization, and that information carries messages acquired in the fallen world. It contains good, bad and ugly information and information on how to deal with this fallen world, how to exist in it, how to survive and even try to live better in it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

God's Imagination is the cause of Social Reality - Relationship

God's Imagination is the cause of social reality because it is Absolute; man's imagination is a part of that.
God has no beginning, no ending, and is not created; hence, God is in a different category than the universe or humans in that He is not subject to the physical laws of the universe or to its space-time dimensionality. We are His creation cannot know Him in His Perfect Being. It is impossible because we are a component of Him. No part can know what machine is in its entirety. No program can know the programmer in his/her entirety. Essentially, we cannot know God in the form that He is because we are a part of Him. Taking a non religious view, we can look to the philosophy of Plato who took the position of the 3rd man principle. Plato posited that if a man is a man because he partakes in the form of man, then a third form would be required to explain how man and the form of man are both man, and so on, ad infinitum. We as Christians could say like this... 'If man is a man because he takes part in the creation of man, then a 3rd creation would be required to explain how man and the creation of man are the related, and then so on.'

In this country, we have gotten into the relativists mind set which leads only to an island of isolation, what else is there when you alone are right. For some people this could sound attractive. But, they fail to realize that they exist because they are a social creature.  Read On Waldon Pond...

The defiling 'falling away' of man began in the garden... when Satan seduced Eve (Adam), he was asking Eve to imagine herself equal to the creator, contemplating that idea Eve fell away - she lost the idea of herself as a creation with a creator.  We can apply Plato's 3rd man principle.... 'If man thinks he can know God, then he 'man' will/can no longer know himself as 'man' because man  in His created form cannot not know God in His entirety; and thus, not being able to imagine that, loses a part of himself as it belongs to God's imagination which he has now risked losing by trying to imagine something which is impossible for him/her to do. Therefore, man in the processes of imagining what he cannot imagine losses a sense of who he is in trying to imagine himself as either as God or greater than than God; this is the great falling away.  

What we must acknowledge is this, though we cannot know God in His entirety, we can have a relationship with Him. This sets the foundation for understanding what social reality is.   We acknowledge that we cannot know someone completely (in their entirety) as we are not them, yet in relationship with that person, we can better know ourselves and come to know someone else through that process.

God who is He?

God is absolute, the one and only truth. Hence, He has no beginning, no ending, and is not created; moreover, God is in a different category than we are. He is not subject to the physical laws of the universe or to its space-time dimensionality. We are His creation. Thus, we cannot know Him in His Perfect Being as this would suggest we are outside of Him and we are not. It is impossible to know God in His Perfect Being because we are a component of Him. No part can know what the whole of the apparatus or machine is in its entirety. No program can know the programmer, because the program is an extension of the programmer. Essentially, we cannot know God in the form that He is because we are a part of Him. Taking a non religious view, we can look to the philosophy of Plato who took the position of the 3rd man principle. Plato posited that if a man is a man because he partakes in the form of man, then a third form would be required to explain how man and the form of man are both man, and so on, ad infinitum. We as Christians could say like this... 'If man is a man because he takes part in the creation of man, then a 3rd creation would be required to explain how man and the creation of man are the related, and then so on.' If man thinks he can know God, then he is in for an eternal and infinite task!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

God's Not Dead

God is Not Dead, this is the title of another Christian movie released recently. It is supposed to be a defense for Christianity, an apologetic argument.
Whether that has been successful or not would demand some quantitative research.
What I can tell you thought being a sociologist, is that there is no apologetic argument aside of the statement that God is not dead. Which is enough!
I smile at so many people who calmly state that God is dead because science tells so.
Again, being a sociologist, I hate to break their little bubble (little because their imagination's are so tiny) but science is a modern contrivance of man.You see, we live a social reality. No one has his/her own thoughts.
Man cannot think for himself... we arrive at ideas such as science through collective thinking. The sun is a star is so because we have socially agreed that it is. This is the secularists argument. Because, that is the only argument the secularist or atheists can have.
Science is a social tool we use to arrive at collective notions that help us to order what we think is real. Science is a social tool created by man to justify the order of agreement. It is wielded by a social hierarchy as is all social reality which is why over the years one can witness that theories of all kinds in all sciences change or are challenged by the next social hierarchy.
Think about your whole life in the church, being asked to believe a whole raft of things about God and the world and yourself, to sign statements committing yourself to Jesus or to abstinence before you had any real opportunity to figure things out for yourself. 
This comment in italics was taken from a blog by a professor of philosophy who has a problem with the existence of God.
My first criticism is that this academic like others in higher academia fail to acknowledge that 'man's science has its rigors too... we call it education and we too sign statements committing to one theory or another. The consequences for not doing this are ridicule and sidling in academic circles. Secondly, this professor does not understand how social reality works. We don't figure things our for ourselves... we figure things out collectively; in fact, we exist only because we live in our imagination with others, the locus of society is in the human mind (Cooley 1964).

You may tell me that Cooley is no defense for God, rather a defense for the secularist. I would answer both Yes and No. Yes because it implies that we are some cosmic anomaly that occurred and somehow consciously allows us to experience it first hand.And, No because it justifies that we are just a cosmic anomaly by the social fact that on one can ever be or is an island; so as Cooley is right, he is even more right by his own insights... one is never alone.

Historically, the descendents of Adam and Eve including Noah acknowledged and had a relationship with their Creator = God. Abraham and his descendents too who lived in the Bronze Age acknowledged and had a relationship with God...way before 'man' invented science.
Point being, people realized themselves in a place and their purpose in it before science. As Cooley said, all reality exists in the mind, so if people were with God in their mind then how is that any different or worse than living with science in your mind, science being created by man due to man's incomplete nature - a nature that does not or fails to be in relationship with the Creator. He is the only absolute and this is the only truth.