20 August 2016

A place where a Honda Fit stands out...

is believe it or not, Las Vegas.  

I was up in the Summerlin area a little while ago and was noticing all the BMWs and Mercedes driving around and realizing that although they caught my eye for a moment, none of them really held my interest.

There have always been cars that just fill space, bland, cookie cutter, non-descript because they are meant to appeal to the masses with functionality that will met 80% with 20% commonality.  In a place like Summerlin even the Bimmers and Mercs fall into this category.  It would take a very special example to stand out and there are very few of these.  Very few.

Even a new Tesla SUV driving around the block looking for a parking spot made me look for a moment but didn't begin to spark flames of interest.  I just realized now that I did not even think about pulling out my cell phone to take a photo even though this is the first one I had seen in person and it may have been a prototype for all I knew.  It may be a little different with a different nose, and slightly different flow but it is still blah.

This is a place where cars are status symbols, where the many of the owners quite often can't tell the difference, let alone appreciate the difference between an everyday 7 series from Munich and a Chevy Malibu other than by the price tag and the symbol on the hood.  (I didn't say all, I said many.)

I do remember while on this trip and driving around Vegas that there was one vehicle I did not see much of.  In fact I only recall seeing one.  The Honda Fit.  On a rarity scale that puts it on par with the Tesla.  Pick a bright color instead of the typical white, silver/gray and black and you have a car that will stand out.

I admit I have always liked intelligently designed small cars, especially if I can fit inside without too much trouble.  I have looked at the Fit as it meets a lot of utility questions really well and so I do not have the blind eye to them that many cars have because they are completely off the radar.  They do not blend into the background for me like other cars would.  That is why it was so surprising to realize how few I had seen on this trip.

I guess it goes back to deciding what you want out of a car.  In Beverly Hills the status car of choice was a Toyota Prius to show you cared for the environment even if the other car in your garage was a 12 mpg supercar.  There are people that might not recognize how expensive your shoes are or the handbag is that you carry but surely they will know how well off you are by the car you get in and out of.  But even that can become common place in certain parts of the world.  

It is getting harder to be unique...unless you are actually willing to be unique.  Just saying.

This is Ed Nef with a view from the Farrwest.

07 August 2016

All things testify of Jesus Christ

I have a natural curiosity of all things and a strong desire to learn.  That desire and the strong love of discovery and exploration has taken me to many new and exciting places, introduced me to a wide variety of educational studies and given me a greater appreciation and understanding of a plethora of people both living and dead.

The last few months have had me exploring books and podcast by a diverse group of individuals with great and varied backgrounds.  Some have gained large followings and produced volumes of work and others not so grand.  Each has had his own search for truth and each has had to come to his own conclusions, and it is those conclusions that have driven their lives work and directed their energies into action.

I was told of a popular 'new' atheist that has drawn much attention.  He has a podcast that covers a wide range of topics but always seem to circle back to his central theme of atheism.  His logic and reasoning on some subjects is sound and sensible but that same practical logic is overlooked when it turns to the topics of theology.  This paradox shows itself strongly when the conversation turns to moral issues as he seems to have a strong sense of right and wrong but will not recognize the source from which it comes.  Any evidence of a Supreme Being will not be acknowledged in the least no matter how or in what form it comes in.

Another podcast I came across was that of an apostate, one who had the truth but turned away from it.  He was raised in a good family and taught the gospel from his youth.  He was moving forward down a bright and prosperous path when a trial of his faith came.  He initially did what he thought was right and yet the consequences that followed were not easy to handle.  His faith was shaken and as he proceeded toward his writing profession, he was introduced to a new group of social contacts that did not strengthen his faith but rather made it possible for him to renounce his roots.  His habits became more worldly and he scorned his past and mocked those that still belonged to where he came from.  His criticism of the old was used as justification for his new lifestyle, taking strength in his denials in an effort to overcome his guilt.  It may seem as though he has come to peace with it but I wonder.

Yet another podcast shows the views of a Jewish Rabbi who has come to a sense that his duty is to convince all Jews that Jesus is not the Savior.  He is highly educated and well read.  He knows well the scriptures of not only the Jewish people but also those of many others.  He has become a counter point to all those that would try to convince others of the divinity of Jesus Christ but especially to those that would try to convince the Jewish people.  Because his scriptural knowledge is so vast when compared to those he converses with it might be easy to be persuaded by his arguments but the conclusions he draws from the references he uses are not the same that others might find.  His teachings do increase my understanding by adding contextual reference to my readings and for that I am thankful.

The last to be mentioned is an autobiography of a man who found God and dedicated his life to him.  He studied the scriptures and came to his knowledge of God and his words and his ways by a dedicated effort to answer questions that related to Gods will.  His life was not without struggle and challenges but he was always trying to choose do what God would have him do rather than take the easy path or follow the dictates of other men.  His life was revelation by scriptural study that somehow missed the fullness he was seeking.  He went on to establish a worldwide church through the use of radio broadcast and print media.

These examples all come from the current era but any study of history and scripture will show that these individuals are not unique.  Their stories have been told time and again by and about others over and over throughout all earthly time.  They are not the first and they will not be the last.  They are the story of mankind.  And in them one and all their stories to me still testify of Christ.

"...The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator."  Alma 30:44

In my life I have learned that all things testify that Jesus is the Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit I know that it is true.  From the examples above you can tell that they have not received their testimonies from the Spirit of Truth and yet their words still testify.

If you would have even a simple desire to know for yourself, then do the work for yourself to know for yourself that your testament might be your own.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of all it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."  Moroni 10:4-5.

I wish that all mankind might know God the Eternal Father and is son Jesus Christ.  I wish that all might know the truth of all things.  It is available to any and all that would know.

This is Ed Nef with a view from the Farrwest.

06 August 2016

The Either/Or Dilemma

1.    a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

I am sure you have already guessed what this is going to be about.

The last post was actually started here but turned into it's own entry.  This is a follow on prelude if you will with reflections on our current state of political affairs.  Isn't it sad that  our nation has an either/or mentality.

I mentioned faulty logic in the decision making process in the last entry and it is a much larger topic than I gave it space for.  One of my greater pet peeves is the either/or presentation especially when it comes to communal decision making.  We are played by politicians all the time and we continue to put up with it and frankly I am getting sick of it.

It is used whenever they have already decided to implement a change that will be unacceptable to the general public and usually comes in the form of new taxes, new policy or new regulation that will limit your rights and freedoms and take money from your wallet.  It is offered in the form of either you take this choice we have made for you or you take this other choice that we know no one in their right mind would take because it is so much worse that the one we want you to pick which is the choice we have made for you.

Either we raise your taxes or children will go hungry, or police and fire departments will have layoffs, or potholes will grow, or garbage will pile up, or sewage will back up...etc., etc..

Either you live or you die, that is all, end of discussion.  Or is it.  Life is not just an either/or decision.  It is made up of many, many decision.  It nearly always comes with more than two options.  Look around you and tell me if there are more than two kinds of snowflakes.

I happen to know that there are three kinds of people in the world.  Them that know numbers and them that don't.

So now we are headed into an election where for many there are only two choices.  Gosh I feel sorry for you if you find yourself in that category.  I for one decided a long time ago that neither one of the traditional parties provided a viable candidate or platform that I was willing to support or endorse and this was before the conventions, so I went looking...looking for options.

I must not be the only one as some of the polls I have seen show that a third and a fourth candidate for president are drawing 10% and 6% interest and 3% for any others in place of the more attention grabbing first and second slots.  At least some people are smart enough to know that when a bad either/or choice is placed before them that you should choose neither.

If someone ask you "do you want pie or ice cream" you should answer "yes".  If some one ask you "do you want me to break your arm or break you leg?" you should say "neither thank you, I'd rather go to dinner and a movie with my sweetheart."

If neither choice will leave you in a desirable state (based on your criteria not theirs) then your first action should be to start looking for other options.  During this election there are many that are looking for other options though sadly they are looking for the same old solutions just with a different face.  That is how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place.

If you are afraid to cast your vote (speak your voice) for someone outside of the main two party system because you will just be throwing away your vote then haven't you in actuality done just that.   I thought that if ever there was a time for a third party candidate to rise up that this would be it.  So far the candidate alternatives have remained in the also ran category which is a shame because there is at least one of them that sounds much more intelligent and is running on a platform that far exceeds those of any I have heard so far, yet there are not enough voices willing to throw away their votes and provide at least the option of having his name on the ballot in all fifty states.

When all is said and done (and more will be said than will be done) I am sure that I will not have my choice be the one made by the majority but at least I know that I will have made my choice and I can live with knowing that.  So come on, throw away your vote, but at least do it in a way you can feel good about yourself for doing it.  And don't fall for the either/or trap.  We know better.

This is Ed Nef with a view from the Farrwest.