6 Reasons Why Americans Must Never Give Up the
Pursuit of Social Betterment
Historical research, dating as far back as 1735, reveals America's earliest efforts to lay the foundation upon which to build the betterment of society. The religious doctrines of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Nathaniel Taylor, and Charles Finney helped to establish where social change should begin, but as the nation increased so did the need for new social platforms. Centuries later, the need for government and social change has evolved so dramatically, that consecutive generations have stirred into resistance expressions ranging from peace marches to protests of civil unrest.
1. Psalm 9:8--The Judgment of Almighty God: The founding leaders of our country were men who believed and understood that the commands of God were essential instructions for establishing a new society with an independent government. Records reveal that these were God fearing men who, although imperfect, founded America, according to biblical morals and principals. Largely and in part, it was their zeal to bind America's ethical social and government blueprint to God that God blessed America to become the most powerful nation in the modern world. Now run by a government that endeavors to systematically remove itself from "under God" for the sake of political correctness and the appeasement of atheists; why should anyone blame Him for bringing the country's blessings to a screeching halt?
2. Matthew 23:27--This Present Generation: Raising the bar for higher social and government standards is one thing, but raising the bar without examples and expectations increases the probabilities of the possibilities for continued failure. The current generation should be embroidering social and government improvement patterns into the moral fabric design of the family for the benefit of future generations right now. There are so many places I could go with this, but my point is this: A true desire for change motivates like-minded groups of people to take specifically dedicated actions, with intent to culminate meaningful results. Shedding hypocrisy, and examining our personal lifestyles is one way to begin. Another way would be to discard the double standard and curtail wasteful spending. These are, but two examples to initiate social and governmental improvement that if earnestly pursued, can benefit and fortify our future generations. The concept is doable; however, our generation can not bring the idea to fruition without the true desire for change.
3. Psalm 34:11--Our Future Generations: Turmoil and lawlessness are the results when men do not fear the God of all Creation. This fact is proven biblical, American and world history. While the American government allocates our tax dollars to police the world, America's state and local branches of law enforcement are in serious need of policing. Changing this example for the social betterment of future generations requires new training methods and stricter federal policies applicable to state and local authorities. One suggestion is that police officers, should it become necessary to fire their gun, be retrained to aim and shoot to wound lawbreakers instead of shooting to kill. The possibility of installing a policy such as this is just as attainable as prohibiting the use of the deadly chokehold. New regulated law enforcement changes for the better are not unimaginable nor are they unreasonable for society to expect. The difference could mean a new found respect and appreciation for state and local authorities from society, which also might include citizen cooperation.
4. Leviticus 23:35--Humanity: For the sake of humanity alone, the priority to achieve social and governmental betterment must continue. Like it or not, we are our brother's keeper! God insists that they who are fortunate provide for the less fortunate. In other words, God requires the Haves to give into the needs of the Have-Nots, turning a blind eye towards race, creed or color. The needs of the Have-Nots include much more than just money; like all people, they need love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding too! Generally speaking, our social characteristics will improve when everyone other than a faithful few acknowledges that the door to the selfish, snobbish, and greedy heart shuts against caring and giving into the needs of the Have-Nots. The teaching of good habits to children will enable them to teach good habits to subsequent generations for the sake of all humanity.
5. Revelation 3:3--Morality: Turning the downward spiral of America's immorality upward is never a false hope for social and governmental change. The dirty laundry of the Catholic church was aired and swept back underneath the rug along with the wrongdoings of other bonafide church leaders. Reliable sources report a growing number of perverted deeds committed by government officials, high school teachers, and doctors. The surprising confessions of homosexuals and transgenders are trending on social media websites. Where will America's moral compass point to next? The time to do better is today---right now! Commit yourself to move forward into being a better individual today than you were yesterday! Be ye a father---brother---sister---husband---wife or mother, do the good that is in you and resist the temptation to do everything that is morally and wrong! Repent, pray and honor God with the remainder of your life!
6. Isaiah 48:22--Peace: World peace is impossible for man to achieve. World peace will not happen until Yahushua (Jesus) the Messiah, the Son of God, rules on His earthly throne as King. But until that happens, it is possible for our society to change for the sake of peace. The concept of peace is non-violence, and peace makes allowances for opposing opinions. From 1865 to 1970, peace marches were used to demonstrate social protests against wars and other legislative decrees. Demonstrations were carried out in the spirit of non-violence. As a result, the messages of several platforms were substantial enough to institute national and social change. The Hippies of the 1960's generation were on point! Their intent towards social betterment was to brand love and peace against violence and war. But these days, the dark spirit of violence and war contrasts against the shining spirit of love and peace.
Repeating history does not have to imply a lack of progress, especially when repeating it is for the betterment of government and social purposes. Today, too many Americans are content with the social and government corruption of this country enough to stand idly by and watch the proverbial hand-basket carry us and our future generations down into the fiery pits of hell. Well, I'm not one of them, and I hope you are not one of them, either.
Sources: Bible, King James Version (1935)
Making Good Wine
Meet Steve Shephard, a modest and humble Vintner. His expertise has enabled the RayLen Vineyards brand to set the standard for a variety of great tasting affordable wines that are locally produced here in North Carolina. Making wine for thirty-five years not only qualifies Steve as an expert among wine experts; his years of experience also makes him an artist.
When I asked Steve, what advice he would give to Noah; if Noah were to ask him for modern day wine-making tips, Steve said, “Keeping oxygen away from the wine, for one thing, cleanliness is also important, but this is just basic information. I wouldn’t have any revelations to tell him.” It was pretty amazing to hear that there have been no significant changes to the process of winemaking over the past eight thousand plus years.
Keeping this in mind, I asked Steve about the purity of RayLen wines. I wanted to know, based on his previous answer, whether RayLen vineyards utilized any restrictive practices that prohibit the usage of toxic chemicals during the growth and processing stages. He said, “Well, we are trying to do whatever we can to be sustainable. The environment is something that we respect. Wines that are coming from great distances like, France, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and so forth, contain a lot more toxic additives because they have to travel such a great distance. Our wines are produced locally; they’re sold locally and are, pretty much, consumed locally, so the necessity of adding preservatives is minimal because of that. That’s the beauty of consuming local wines because most of them have not been treated and adulterated as much as some of the imports; that includes wines coming from central California.” Now, that’s something to consider before choosing a bottle of French wine over a California Chardonnay, huh?
Learning that distance factors into the preservation of foreign and domestic wines, I came to the conclusion that it is best for lovers of wine to purchase and consume domestic and locally produced wines. Steve said, “Exactly! See, a lot of folks think that the further away wine comes from the better the wine is, and they think the wines grown closer to home aren’t any good; thinking, I can’t make wine in my backyard. But the wine that is made in Europe is made the same way, and this misconception plays a role in how people consume wine and why they consume wine. My interjection is that those wines are so much more processed because of the traveling they require to get to market. We don’t know what kind of chemicals were used at those facilities. With us, you can drive up the driveway and see what we’re working with---we’re totally exposed.” I don’t know about you, but I find that the more transparent the business---the more noteworthy and attractive is that business.
Because of everything I learned from Steve, up to this point, I began considering future wine lovers. I asked Steve if he had ever been inspired to produce a line of organic wines. He carefully replied, “Producing organic wines is very tricky. It’s difficult to do both in the same facility. There are lots of registrations that are required and so forth, so it’s all in whether you can be certified. Because if you’re making organic wine and traditional wines in the same location, you transfer organic wines through the
same hoses as you transfer the other wines, so you kind of disqualify yourself. It would be very challenging to do and to farm as well.”
Earlier in the interview, Steve talked about the misconception that many people have; thinking ‘I can’t make wine in my backyard,’ yet, my research shows that there are several micro-vineyards sprouting up across America that specialize in producing blended wines. I asked Steve: Is it wise for a micro-vineyard to start off producing blended wines as a premier product? Steve said, “That’s an interesting question because when during my first year at RayLen, in 2000, we produced five different wines. We produced a Merlot, a Chardonnay that was done in a barrel, a Shiraz; there was another one too, but what I’m getting at is that the first wine was a blend. It was made up of other wines that were produced and bottled and about thirty or forty percent of our production was made up of that blend. When we came to market, we had these five wines, and the best of those five was that one red blend. To tell you the truth, we sold out of that blend quicker than all the rest, so the blended wine was a bigger hit and more successful and to this day, it still is.”
Several of you may be able to identify with the following scenario: You have the opportunity to taste an expensive well aged bottle of wine during dinner at a friends house, or while eating out at a place of fine dining. After your first sip, you want nothing more than to spit the wine back into the glass because of the bitter and acerbic taste, but instead, remembering you are out in public, you swallow the wine chasing it with a huge gulp of water. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. However, RayLen wines are not only good wines, they are affordable, too! So I asked Steve: What makes costlier wines that are far less flavorful than RayLen wines, so expensive? Steve replied. “I’ve always told people that wherever they purchase their wines; be it from a local store or from the NAPA Valley, the land in California costs two-hundred thousand dollars an acre. We purchased this farm for six thousand dollars an acre. So the initial start-up costs of some of these wineries that sell expensive wines were much greater than what we had. We still have similar expenses like labor, utilities, bottles, corks, and caps and materials like that, but the initial costs for such things are pretty much where they price their wines at.” This perspective helped me to understand why so many domestic and imported wines are so over-priced.
Steve was so accommodating and genuinely passionate, I felt compelled to ask him if he felt passionate about wine enough to start his own winery to produce a Steve Shephard brand for the market. Thoughtfully, he replied, “Umm ... yeah … I think I would entertain that! I don’t have the capital that’s required to start my own winery, but there are other ways that, that could be accomplished. Producing my own brand would be an interesting concept, and I would definitely consider something like that.”
My interview with Steve Shepard, Vintner of RayLen Vineyards and Winery located in Mocksville, North Carolina, was not just a privilege; it was an eye-opening twenty minute tutelage in the craft of wine making. The highlight of this interview, for me, was learning that toxic preservatives are a necessary requirement for the mass production of wines sold on the national and international market, today. The choice to buy local or domestic wine is now a no-brainer---at least for me it is because now, I would readily pay for and drink a bottle of locally made wine that contains little to no toxic preservatives; rather than buy a bottle of wine that was produced and shipped from across the sea containing multiple toxic preservatives.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the biblical history of Noah, Noah, his family, and an ark load of animals, road the waves of an epic earth-shattering flood. Outside of the Ark, after the waters had subsided, Noah settled his family and farmed the enriched soil. He cultivated vegetables and grapevines, which over the course of time, resulted in his personal enjoyment of delicious robust wine(s). On a lighter note: I believe Noah may have been able to pick up a few pointers; had he been able to converse with Steve Shephard.
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