Sunday, April 12, 2015

Intolerance & Freedom

Recently in Springfield, MO, the City Council voted to add protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people, they would be considered a protected class of people just like for race, religion and gender. As you can imagine, the conservative city sitting in the "buckle of the Bible belt" didn't agree with their leadership. It didn't take long to obtain enough signatures to vote on a repeal, and win the repeal, although by a slim margin.

Not living in Springfield, I didn't have a vote to give. However, owning a business in Springfield, I did have a horse in the race.


A bookseller being told what kinds of books they have to sell.

An artist being told what he can and cannot paint.

An actor being forced to act in roles he has no interest in.

A singer being made to perform songs that offend her.

Is that freedom? And yet it is exactly what some of the “tolerant left” are demanding from their governments. 

So do I think it's permissible to refuse to serve a gay, lesbian or transgender person? Absolutely not! I believe God created all men equal and it is a personal life goal of mine to love others and to make them feel loved. We have customers that fall into this category and we always treat them with love and respect.

Why then have we recently been targeted by the LGBT community? Why have we been called "disgusting, intolerant and on the discriminatory bandwagon?" Why have we been harassed through phone calls, Facebook messages and "naughty lists?"

Because as a company that strives to honor our Creator God, we will not design or print shirts that have a message that we feel contradicts His words.

We have many times and while sacrificing profit, chose to turn down orders containing alcohol or drug references, any concept of hate, gambling promotions, adult content, profane language and.... LGBT matters.

Does that mean we won't print for an alcoholic? No! Just not a design that promotes alcohol.

Does that mean we won't print for a prostitute? No! Just not a design that promotes prostitution.

Does that mean we won't print for a bigot? No! Just not a design showing hate to others.

It boils down to this...

If a vegan restaurant owner refused to add bacon to a woman's salad, would it be discriminating against her? Of course not. The Vegan does not offer bacon because of his beliefs. We do not offer designs that contradict God's laws... because of our beliefs.

Do we have the freedom to honor our religious beliefs?  Can we expect others to be tolerant of our beliefs?

I did not hunt down a gay person and tell them I thought their lifestyle was wrong.... and yet I've been hunted down and told my beliefs are wrong, and even told I was going to hell.

I did not tell the lesbian she doesn't have the freedom to be gay, and yet I was told I don't have the freedom to honor what my religion calls for. 

I did not tell the transgender person their community was wrong in how they interpret their traditions & customs, and yet I was told I was wrong in how I interpret my Bible.

Who believes in freedom for everyone? Who is practicing bigotry & intolerance?

I know people don’t equate T-shirts with fine art, but it’s how we express ourselves. And some of the very people who claim to uphold artistic freedom have no qualms dictating to bakers, florists and photographers how they should expend their creative abilities and talents. But they need to carefully consider what they are arguing for. They need to ask themselves if giving the government the power to force people to act against their conscience could ever affect an issue they care about.

We are free. We were born free—endowed by our Creator—and we would that everyone know the increased freedom that comes from living a life guided by Jesus Christ. Not everyone will, not everyone wants to, but that will not change the truth. The phone calls, bullying and harassment only cause us to turn to Christ, Who suffered exceedingly more for us.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Addicted to Google

Hi, my name is Trina and I'm a Googaholic.

When did Google take over the internet and my mind? Seems like I remember Ask Jeeves first, then there was ChaCha where you could text a question and get an answer. At some point Google became the Einstein of the www. We no longer "research," we now "google." It's a legitimate verb.

I don't recall wanting all sorts of random information before Google. Now that it's available at my fingertips every minute of every day, I use it... over and over and over and... well you get the point.

How do Chickens reproduce?
What household product can I bathe my dog with?
Where do I rub on my feet to get rid of a headache?
What rhymes with candy?
Why do I have such drastic energy swings?
How often is the groundhog right?
Suggestions to make my kids to pick up after themselves.
What does SMH mean in text lingo?
How to stick with a schedule.
What color makes people the happiest?

You would think we would be the absolute smartest people of all times with this knowledge so accessible, and yet I don't think that's the case.

The question, is it bad to be a Googaholic? We've always been taught "education is key" so what could possibly be wrong with our digital encyclopedia? I have a dear friend that says "everything in moderation" and that's exactly how I'm feeling about Google. Lately I've been asking myself the following things:

Does Google overrule my dependence on prayer? Is it the first place I go for a question? Obviously I don't think I would pray and ask how a chicken reproduces, but I should pray and ask for wisdom in dealing with my children and energy to stick with a schedule.

Am I selling myself short by settling for a Google answer? Before if I wanted to learn some ways to reward employees I would check out or buy a book and do a thorough search, finding lots of information and ideas. Now I google it and read a couple articles with 8 points...which I learned the other day from a man that writes articles for WikiHow, he's no expert on any subject. He actually googles the answer and re-writes it in the WikiHow format... geez.

Do I retain any information I googled? Seriously... think about it. I can't remember any information I googled in the past week. When I started this article I couldn't even remember any questions. I had to look back at my phone to see my history. There is all kinds of research out there showing our brains are too distracted to "think deep." We go from one subject to the next status update to the next tweet and on and on. When do we really allow ourselves time to think? I realized all the great ideas I've ever had were while I was taking a shower or a bath.... which consequently is about the only time I don't have a device.

Is the answer I found through Google true? We've all heard people joke, "it has to be true, it was on the internet." We tease and yet I find myself believing what I read. I mean I don't guess I would stake my life on it, but I do accept most everything and move on (of course we now know I don't remember it for long anyway, ha!)

Could I think of a better solution than the Google answer? If I spent the same time thinking, being creative, that I do on Google,  could I come up with something new, a better way?

So next time you reach for a device to Google the thought that popped in your head, stop and ask yourself the above questions.... and remember... everything in moderation. :-)

"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief." Ecc. 1:18

***(Google was used 11 times in the writing of this article.)

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