Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 217: Lest We Forget

August 8, 2020

Seventy-five years ago, the United States unleashed hell upon the earth…

Sane people would decide that this would never happen again.
We have a shortage of sane people leading governments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 215: This is Why Federal Troops Came to Portland

July 26, 2020

She’s being called, “The Naked Athena”—a reference to Athena an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare

We have unwanted Federal Troops making war on peaceful protestors.

AND THAT WAS THE POINT
A PRESIDENT WHO IS INVADING HIS OWN COUNTRY

I am aware that there are Portlanders who are personally offended by spray paint and broken glass; and looting from weeks ago.

The real enemy is COVID-19; and the 150,000 US lives taken.

And the Federal response is storm troopers.

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 213: we are luminous beings…

July 14, 2020
Freedom of Worship [Rockwell] graphite copy | Angel of Grief

I found this in my Inbox the other day:
A little virus can’t stop us – we have God on our side, so we continue full steam ahead to do His will!
I have written the author and have explained that while I believe this comment wasn’t intended to be insensitive, it is insensitive.

As of this writing, 139,143 deaths [Last Updated on the Presidential Public Calendar: Jul 14 @ 10:00pm] have occurred in the US due to the “little virus” that has rocked the entire world. 815 of those deaths have happened in the last 21 hours of this writing. Many of those who have died were people of Faith who had other plans than dying. While awakening in the Afterlife will probably have large elements of joy, those who are left behind won’t feel the same way. Those left behind experience grief; sometimes paralyzing grief.
The President seems to be determined to not mention the deaths of 139,143 citizens of this country. As Joe Biden put it recently, pointing to Trump in March declaring himself a ‘wartime president’ in battling the Corona virus, Biden said:

“What happened? Now it’s July, and it seems like our wartime president has surrendered — waved the white flag and left the battlefield.”

A Leader of his country would have used the last three months to prepare to fight this ‘little virus’; the hospitals of this country are no better prepared with Personal Protective Equipment than they had been in March. Thanks to those people who partied like 2019 on Memorial Day, and Fourth of July, and a lack of mask-wearing among those who somehow believe wearing a mask attacks their First Amendment rights, hospitals all over the country have filled to capacity. Human stupidity seems to know no bounds.

With rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations sending many states backward in their reopening plans, one health expert warns that if the US continues on its current path it will reach “one of the most unstable times in the history of our country.”
“We will have hospitals overwhelmed and not only in terms of ICU beds and hospitals — and that’s bad — but exhausted hospital staff and hospital staff that’s getting ill themselves,” Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN Friday night. “So, we won’t have enough manpower, human power, to manage all of this.”
Only five states saw a decrease of at least 10% in average new daily cases over the past week. And the US set a record for the highest single day of new cases for the second time this week with 66,627 cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
There have been more than 3,225,721 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, Johns Hopkins University said. That’s more than the population of 21 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico, according to data from the US Census Bureau. [data not current]

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/11/health/us-coronavirus-saturday/index.html?fbclid=IwAR3npV0sdiRRWAeHoFGtmVJu01NBtnv9iLAeAwT3IrTOsbgtu6uCz1ftajk

President Trump once again questioned the expertise of his top public health officials Monday morning, retweeting a conspiracy theory from former game show host Chuck Woolery, who suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “Media, Democrats [and] our Doctors” are lying about COVID-19 in an effort to hurt Trump in November’s general election.

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/13/890384330/trump-again-casts-doubt-on-fauci-as-covid-19-cases-surge

 

Amidst the Pandemic crippling America, I have a problem with the “White Evangelical Church” and it is unexpected. I had expected better.
This will not be well received by many.
I know of individuals who will find these images extremely offensive. If this offends you, please stop reading. It won’t improve.

I don’t have image credits, apologies.

I came to Faith forty-seven of my sixty-eight years ago. I had never stepped into a church before my third year of college. Faith and religion were not discussed during my upbringing. I knew that my beloved grandmother called us ‘heathens’ but I had no idea what the word meant; and wasn’t curious enough to open a dictionary.

I was loved into Faith by a group of college students who did not try to convert me, they did not try to make me into someone I wasn’t. They simply became my friends. In time,
I wanted to make myself into someone I wasn’t.

Religion is really weird, if you’ve never been exposed to it. Often weird, even if you have been exposed to it. During the two college years that followed my introduction to Faith, I visited a variety of churches. I came to the conclusion that most people who have spent their lives in a certain denomination [of the hundreds of denominations around the world] seem to have no idea that people in other denominations ‘do church’ differently, even though denominations come into being as the results of theological arguments.

I consider myself to be non-denominational; although I apparently am still a Presbyterian Elder, even though I haven’t been in a Presbyterian church service for over a decade. I was baptized as an infant in a Congregational church I’ve never entered since, and I was baptized as an adult in a non-denominational church. I was ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’ at a Crusade, for those who see this as a major qualifier.

Even within those Lutheran/ Presbyterian and non-denominational churches I have called ‘home,’ there is a lot of variation. Missouri Lutheran churches are different from Evangelical Lutheran Church[es] in America; and they are different from the American Lutheran Church[es]. A lot of the differences between the denominations involve how they think about people who are different than they are, and what role they should have in the church.

I valued my association with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary over a number of years. My biggest complaint about Catholicism is that I am discouraged from partaking in Holy Communion because I’m not Catholic. Catholicism, in my opinion, does ‘wonder’ far better than Protestants.

I am not aware of any churches that call themselves the “White Evangelical Church”. Belonging to the WEC has to do with an attitude, and a particular practice of applying the New and Old Testaments to life today, as they view life today. They are fond of rules, based on the particular Bible they use while taking sentences out of context. The WEC tends to accept, without question, that the Holy Bible, as we know it today, is written by God Himself, through human agents.[I started going there while writing this; there is too much stuff to cover for the uninitiated] The WEC has a ‘training manual’ of sorts taken from the writings of the Apostle Paul, and others, directing parents in how they should raise godly children. It was helpful during our child-rearing years, because I was clueless. I was friends with one ‘godly child’ as I grew up; don’t recall meeting any others.

The current resident of the White House, the man who sits behind the Resolute Desk, is the exact opposite of what that ‘training manual’ teaches. Prior to 2016, before he became Very Famous, I would have heard countless sermons on the despicable behavior of this man. Since he was merely a celebrity, the Church did not care what he did. Now the WEC believes that he was sent to the Presidency by God. They talk about him being like King Cyrus, not a Jew, who allowed the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple centuries before the coming of Christ. They should probably look at King Nebuchadnezzar—he ended up cursed by God, eating grass in the fields, like a donkey, for years; because of his arrogance.

The desire for political power is destructive to the people of God.

While I’m not a ‘fan’ of the X-files, I found the series interesting—the lapsed Catholic surgeon who did not believe in the paranormal; and the atheist who did believe in the paranormal—just not caused by God. They frequently bring up theological questions:

SCULLY: I have a patient. A young boy with a rare brain disease, and he’s very, very sick.
MULDER: Why haven’t you told me about this before?
SCULLY: I thought there was something I could do.
MULDER: There’s not?
SCULLY: Well, there’s radical treatments but nobody wants to talk about those. Even the experts say there’s nothing to be done. Nothing but let him die. So, I’m lying here cursing God for all his cruelties.
MULDER: And do you think God is losing any sleep?
SCULLY: Why bring a kid into the world just to make him suffer? I don’t know, Mulder, I’ve got such a connection to this boy…

“Why bring a kid into the world just to make him suffer?”

We are only able to look at our lives in the Present. We have hopes for the Future. We can remember the Past, but we cannot relive it [although people persist in the attempt]. I believe that Creator sees our entire lives, front, back and sideways. Creator sees our lives as a whole, not as the 525,600 individual minutes we live through in a year. I believe that our lives are Known from the beginning of Time.

I’ve often said that on the rare occasions when my illustrations include a villain, I would not throw the villainous character away, because I created the character. I cannot throw it away. My creation involves pain, it involves frustration; the creation is a product of my work. The character is a villain because of a story, and may always be a villain, if I use the character again. One villain in particular will ALWAYS be a villain. This particular villain has caused so much hurt and pain that he can never be redeemed in his lifetime. He has a mental illness that prohibits him from expressing that which we might call humanity.

Humans ask how can it be that a Loving Creator could possibly create beings who suffer; beings who may only experience suffering in this life. How could a Creator be so cruel as to allow Pandemics to happen? I believe that part of the answer is that we are more than the lives we live here. As Yoda said, we are luminous beings…

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you, hmm? And well you should not, for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it. Makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Everywhere. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.

I don’t object to identifying “The Force” with the Creator—that which is True on Earth has to be True throughout the Universe. Otherwise, it isn’t Truth.

The first intelligent life from another planet we meet, may look like these beings…
If the story of Jesus is true, then these beings will also have a ‘Jesus story’—the story of the Creator of the Universe entering time and space and living like themselves; dying at the hands of the religious elite and rising again to new life. Inviting these beings to join in on that journey.
If our understanding of Jesus as the Creator of the Universe cannot tolerate the appearance of Believers in this form, ‘in the image of their Creator’; we might need to reconsider our beliefs…

I believe that we are created for Eternity. Eternity is far more than ‘a long time.’
With Eternity as our Home, the trials here on this broken world will be an eyeblink in the span of Eternity. I’m not blind enough to think that such an idea makes the suffering good; the explanation is simply part of the rest of the story.

We do not now have the ability to understand the rest of the story. I’ve heard people express the idea that we will arrive in Eternity Future in our present form. When Jesus was resurrected, people did not recognize Him until He desired it. We are not our bodies; we are our soul.

For those who believe we don’t have souls, I hope that idea changes.

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 212: Finding a New Normal

July 1, 2020
Life has a way of making the foreseeable what never happens; and the unforeseeable what your life is about.   “Appaloosa

COVID-19 by the Numbers 6/30/2020 7:33p

Over 10 million COVID-19 cases, and more than one-half million deaths, worldwide.
I continue to be amazed at how many people I communicate with, via Social Media, who are unwilling to believe these numbers. They get their information from strangely named sources with highly visible agendas and are unwilling to believe that our Administration is lying to us. They are unwilling to accept the information found on traditional news outlets.

While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Carl Bernstein was teamed up with Bob Woodward; the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. The work of Woodward and Bernstein was called “maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time” by longtime journalism figure Gene Roberts.[1]

The Post is one of p45’s favorite targets for being called “Fake News.” The reality is that the name “Fake News” is applied to any reporting that the president doesn’t like.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday as a crushing new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Across the nation, 40,587 new daily cases were reported.
Florida, Texas and Arizona are emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. On Sunday [6/28], Arizona (3,857) and Georgia (2,225) hit new one-day case highs.
A record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the historic failure in the United States to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils.
The faltering response in the United States remains a subject of global shock and fascination, with one prominent French virologist saying Sunday the situation was “explosive.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/28/coronavirus-live-updates-us/

Meanwhile, the president is playing golf…

mjarts face masks at Redbubble

Life has a way of making the foreseeable what never happens; and the unforeseeable what your life is about.   “Appaloosa”

Yes, I’m being repetitious; this may be my theme for a long time.
I turn 68 next month; I probably have “underlying medical conditions,” as the posts from the Oregon Health Authority publish in regard to COVID-19 deaths. Consequently, I am considered ‘at risk’—which sometimes feels like another name for “old.”
Since I am not allowed to volunteer anywhere, because of this classification, I am doing what I able to do. It appears that Face Masks are going to be with us for a long time… Unpleasant to think about it as it may be, we may need to wear face masks for the rest of our lives. I have designed a number of Face Masks, based on illustrations I’ve created in the past. I will be posting each design on Social Media over the next weeks. I have created 15 designs already; more designs are in the works.

The nature of viruses is that they are not alive, so they cannot be killed. The virus is a microscopic organism that exists to replicate; with COVID-19, the replication occurs in the lungs. Face Masks are not intended to keep you safe from COVID-19; they are intended to keep people around you safe. The COVID-19 virus can exist in our lungs for 2-3 weeks before we are aware of symptoms. It is not known at this time whether having recovered from the virus, we become immune—we don’t know whether we can catch the virus again. This is a Novel virus—one that is brand new [novel]; it has only existed for 7+ months. In spite of contrary messaging coming from politicians, COVID-19 is not ‘the flu’ that comes through our lives every fall. COVID-19 is deadly, for about 5% of the population that contracts the virus [8% of those tested]. If one survives being on a ventilator in a COVID ward, recovery may take months. Epidemiologists have not yet learned what causes some people to be asymptomatic—no discernable symptoms—nor what causes some people to die. People who are asymptomatic can still infect others. That is why we are ordered to wear masks.

You who are reading this: if you have been indoors among groups of people that aren’t wearing masks—political events or concerts—in the last two weeks, you may be infected and you are not aware of it. If you are infected, and go to public places without a mask, you can infect others. You may be infecting a grandparent or parent, or a family member.

For the foreseeable future, this is our New Normal.

This isn’t me; nor is it real

I damaged my spine when I was in high school—landed wrong in PE causing my legs to circle over my back, in an attempt at folding me in the wrong direction. I remember hearing my spine crackle like a zipper. It seems that my parents believed that if one can make it to the doctor, one does not need to see a doctor [probable financial reasons—I don’t even know if health insurance existed in the late 60s]. For many weeks, in order to turn my head to look sideways, I had to rotate my entire body. I was probably 16 or 17—youth brings a power of recovery that slowly disappears over time.
I received my last traffic citation when I turned forty—sort of a bizarre birthday present. The law enforcement officers, and the ambulance people, when they looked at my driver’s license, regretted their need to cite me for turning into an oncoming car—which wasn’t there when a began the turn… a blind corner of sorts. [we stopped traffic on the highway that goes over Mount Hood, so a helicopter could land] This was the third vehicle that I was in, that was totaled by another vehicle.

At that point, I decided there would never be a reason in the future, for me to rush, while driving.

I also worked as a less-than-careful carpenter for a decade or so. My guess was that the damage began in high school and was aggravated multiple times over 20+ years. I have been on pain medication for 50 years; plus, antidepressants. More meds, starting in 2009—”idiopathic polyneuropathy”—this is doctor speak for, ‘your neurological system is messed up, and we have no idea why’. I finally ‘found’ a neurologist who was willing to admit the latter phrase. I received a letter from him, a day or two ago, saying that because of COVID-19, he and his family were moving to the East Coast, to care for a mother. expletive deleted.
Beginning in 2009, ‘New Normal’ has occurred in my life every two years, in May or June, almost like clockwork. “New Normal’ began occurring more rapidly last year. I’m on my third New Normal since the beginning of 2019. It sucks.

The World has entered into New Normal.

Even in the Amazon Rainforest.

Greed, avarice, an unreasonable desire for wealth. Investment bankers, hedge fund managers and billionaires don’t want there to be a New Normal. The Military-Industrial Complex does not want a New Normal, as perhaps the last honest Republican President—Dwight D. Eisenhower—warned in his last address to the American public. They want the Old Normal, where they could get rich without having to deal with consequences.
Four months. 129,971 deaths in America. [ https://factba.se/topic/calendar ]
For two of those months, we Sheltered In Place, went without earnings, we avoided contact with other people. We collapsed the American economy. Two months which could have been used to create a path toward living with COVID-19 until a vaccine can be created and found to work. The European Union and Asian countries followed plans and are living with the COVID-19 virus. People continue to become infected; but the hospitals can handle the patient load. People are back at work in altered surroundings to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The European Union is rebuilding their economies. The European Union is banning Americans from travel to the E.U.

Memorial Day 2020 in the US. People partied like it was 2019. No Social Distancing; no Face Masks; no Sheltering In Place. This coming weekend is the Fourth of July. Will people party like it was 2019? States are recording the highest number of new infections since the end of March. Hospitals in various parts of the country are filled to capacity with COVID-19 cases; hospitals are running out of supplies. It is as if we were back at the end of March instead of the beginning of July. The two months where a plan could have been made were wasted on doing nothing. There is no Federal plan for dealing with the Pandemic. Governors are having to come up with their own plans for their states, with very little support from the Federal government.

We have the ability to imagine a New Normal; one that provides equity and justice. This has been proven in the last month. Black Lives Matter protests have brought positive benefits to the country. People who want a New Normal that provides Equity and Justice need to vote. We need to encourage voting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 211: Life in a Pandemic

June 8, 2020

Life has a way of making the foreseeable what never happens; and the unforeseeable what your life is about.   “Appaloosa”

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

Yes, same LOTR quotation as previously.
I’ve ‘always’ had a tendency toward OCD. In me, the ‘disorder’ takes the form of desiring control. Our house is a mess, but I am very particular about some things. Mentally, I always calculate the most efficient way to accomplish tasks. I have the store in which we buy groceries memorized, to pass through the store quickly. Since Social Distancing is my normal lifestyle, I’m not tempted to engage in conversations with random people. I eat the same food during the day that I’ve eaten for years; and have specific ways of preparing it. The dietary ‘rules’ relate to my degenerative polyneuropathy [doctor-speak for, ‘we have no idea what’s wrong with your nervous system’]. By eating the same selections of food, if my body doesn’t work properly on a given day, it isn’t because of my diet.

Among the ‘rules’ for my life is the rule that I primarily use my own illustrations in my blog. I wanted to use the above lines from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in my last post, so I needed to create a LOTR illustration in order to continue writing… While it looks like an image from the original promotional illustrations, it’s actually original art. That will be more apparent on the next LOTR illustration I’m working on.

I write as a way of analyzing and understanding the Disorder of the world. A Disorder that has not existed in this country for a century, compounded by America’s Original Sin of Racism.

My great-grandfather, and one of his daughters died in 1919, here in Portland, during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. My Dad was something like a year old, having been born in Eastern Oregon in 1918.

The Spanish Flu Pandemic infected 500 million people—about a third of the world’s population at the time.[5] The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.[6]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu

By the time you read this, over 400,000 people in the world will have died from COVID-19; over 110,000 of those people will have lived in the U.S. The number of infected people in the world will be approaching 7 million. Lockdowns in the U.S. started about 3 months ago.

I wrote to a friend tonight and told him a story from one of my favorite books. The story takes place in a VA Burn Ward. There was a patient called ‘Sarge’ who had suffered third-degree burns over most of his body. He helped the nurses in the Burn Ward by bringing cups of water, and other Graces. A woman had been brought into the Ward, also suffering from third-degree burns over most of her body. Some months later, Sarge was telling this woman about his daughter going off to college. The woman said something like, ‘why would you send her to a Black University?’ Sarge replied, ‘because we are Black.’

There is no Melanin in the Burn Ward.

All of the patients in the Burn Ward have a thin transparent layer covering the muscles and tissues under the surface of our skin. The muscles and ligaments and tissues under our skin are the same throughout the world. The concept of Racism is based on a grim fairy tale that having pink skin is better than having brown skin. The idea has no basis in fact.

Black Lives Matter Plaza, Washington D.C. June 2020

The other day, a friend asked me if I believe in evil.
Evil has been on display across the country; sadly, many of those who are sworn to protect and serve are responsible for creating the evil. I saw Evil’s face in Minneapolis, staring into a camera for 9 minutes while he and his partners crushed the life of a man who supposedly paid for something with a counterfeit $20 bill. When did buying something with a counterfeit dollar bill become worth a person’s life? Do you check the paper money you receive from a cash purchase to see if the bills are counterfeit?

Karma may come into the picture in the weeks and months ahead. In his autopsy, George Floyd was found to be Positive for COVID-19…

He said he wanted a wall. Only, it isn’t at the Southern Border [that one has been breached in many places]; and the American Taxpayer is paying for it.

‘The need to fortify your house shows weakness’: Heavily secured White House at odds with its long history as ‘the people’s house’ The Independent, UK

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/white-house-protection-security-protests-trump-a9550476.html

The White House is known as “The People’s House” — and since 2009, the Obama administration has made that nickname truer than ever before for millions of guests by opening the White House to as many Americans as possible.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/09/15/opening-peoples-house

Tourists may find it harder to get that perfect photograph of the White House after construction begins on a new 13-foot fence, almost double its current height, to help keep intruders out.

The White House has become a fortress.

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 210: Who do you want to accidentally kill today?

June 1, 2020
Lord of the Rings Illustration [fan art]

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

As I write this, early Sunday morning on the West Coast, there are 6,075,786 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the world. The total number of deaths worldwide is 369,433. Nearly 30% of those deaths occurred in the US.

The United States has 1,770,384 confirmed cases of COVID-19; the total number of deaths, from COVID-19, is 103,781, beginning on an unknown date between February 6 and February 17. Of the 16,495,443 people in the US that have been reported as having been tested, 11% of them have been tested as Positive. Of those 1,770,384 people, 5.8% have died.

I understand that people desperately want to end Social Distancing and go back to their jobs; and those who employ the people actually working want their employees to get back to work. And then there are those who simply want to be able to get out of their apartment and engage with people they know, over a ‘cuppa’…

If you have interacted with people outside of your home in the last week, you may carry the COVID-19 virus. If you are already carrying the virus, you’ve probably passed it onto someone else. COVID-19 sometimes takes two weeks to present itself. During that two weeks, you may not be aware you are infected, because some people carry the infection, but do not display symptoms. Consequently, you can be passing the virus on to everyone with whom you come in contact. Some of those people will die, a week or two from now.

Who do you want to accidentally kill today?

Wearing a mask helps protect other people from you. Masks do not protect you. COVID-19 is a virus; it is not alive. It is a microbe whose sole purpose for existing is replication. So far, it appears that COVID-19 only replicates itself in lung tissue. When humans talk, sing, cough or sneeze, droplets are projected from the lungs into the atmosphere. A mask helps to prevent droplets coming from you into going into the atmosphere. COVID-19 cannot travel except by human beings traveling. If you cough inside a store without a mask, studies show that you might be infecting someone in the next aisle. COVID-19 can exist in the air for about three hours and can live on plastic for about three days.

Social Distancing does nothing to eliminate the virus. Social Distancing enables hospitals to not be overrun by patients needing to be treated in the ICU. The virus exists in a larger portion of the population than it did in March, when states began ‘lockdowns’. People that have given up on Social Distancing over the last two weekends will cause a rise in ICU admissions in hospitals in the weeks ahead.

Hospitals are reporting that people in their 30s and 40s are dying of strokes; caused by COVID-19. Children are being diagnosed with swollen and cracked toes from blood clots; healthy people in their 20s and 30s die of strokes because COVID-19 causes blood clots to form in the brain of some percentage of the population.

Some hospitals are already overrun by COVID-19 patients; to the point where they cannot treat those who come in with heart attacks and strokes.
Protesters are demanding that State Governors ‘open the country’.

Who do you want to accidentally kill today?

In his 1978 novel The Stand, author Stephen King wrote about a viral pandemic that decimated the world’s population. And he gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories.
“I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ ”
A pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen,” King says. “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”
What I’m living with and what I suspect a lot of people are living with right now is cabin fever. … But to be in the house day after day, all I can say is I’ve made wonderful progress on a novel, because there’s really not too much to do and it’s a good way to get away from the fear. It’s not panic. It’s not terror that I feel, that I think most people feel, it’s a kind of gnawing anxiety where you say to yourself, I shouldn’t go out. If I do go out, I might catch this thing or I might give it to somebody else.

https://www.npr.org/2020/04/08/829298135/stephen-king-is-sorry-you-feel-like-youre-stuck-in-a-stephen-king-novel

By Bryan Walsh, 25th March 2020

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200325-covid-19-the-history-of-pandemics

“In October 2019, I attended a simulation involving a fictional pandemic, caused by a novel coronavirus, that killed 65 million people, and in the spring of 2017 I wrote a feature story for TIME magazine on the subject. The magazine cover read: “Warning: the world is not ready for another pandemic”.

“There was little special about my insight. Over the past 15 years, there has been no shortage of articles and white papers issuing dire warnings that a global pandemic involving a new respiratory disease was only a matter of time. On BBC Future in 2018, we reported that experts believed a flu pandemic was only a matter of time and that there could be millions of undiscovered viruses in the world, with one expert telling us, “I think the chances that the next pandemic will be caused by a novel virus are quite good.” In 2019, US President Donald Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services carried out a pandemic exercise named “Crimson Contagion”, which imagined a flu pandemic starting in China and spreading around the world. The simulation predicted that 586,000 people would die in the US alone. If the most pessimistic estimates about COVID-19 come true, the far better named “Crimson Contagion” will seem like a day in the park.”

If you wonder why the President talks about COVID-19 being a ‘Chinese virus,’ it’s because he already knew that. It was the subject of a Pandemic Exercise. He just neglected to mention that to the rest of us.

Tonight, as with last several nights, violent protests have erupted around the country over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, last week. Mr. Floyd, known by the police to be unarmed, was killed by police officers. Four officers were captured on multiple cameras; all four have been fired; one of the officers was charged with Third Degree Murder, and Manslaughter. However, that officer has not been shown on camera as having been arrested…

Another 21st Century lynching of unarmed African Americans by police officers.

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m a dinosaur. I was born during the Korean Conflict [it never was a declared war against Korea; the Conflict was never resolved. A Cease-Fire was reached]. I was raised with the idea that Presidents of the United States had to the obligation of leadership; that in time of crises, the President would offer words of comfort, and would present a plan for moving forward.

Today’s President, who is more of a dinosaur than I am, is incapable of empathy. He is incapable of providing words of comfort, and has only one plan for moving forward:

‘How the Trump White House Sees You’: Top Economic Adviser Under Fire for Calling Workers ‘Human Capital Stock’

In a remark critics characterized as further evidence that the Trump administration views workers as nothing more than disposable tools of economic growth and corporate profit, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett on Sunday nonchalantly referred to laid-off employees as “human capital stock” as he pushed people to return to their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Voicing optimism about the potential for a speedy economic recovery even as U.S. unemployment surges to levels not seen since the Great Depression, Hassett told CNN Sunday that “our capital stock hasn’t been destroyed, our human capital stock is ready to get back to work, and so that there are lots of reasons to believe that we can get going way faster than we have in previous crises.”

https://pbs.twimg.com/ext_tw_video_thumb/1265058311839367169/pu/img/HydoGTkJWXef7WSn?format=jpg&name=small

When we do not have a President who is able to lead us toward a new future, who will come forward to lead? Today [5/31], news media report that, “Trump fled to bunker as protests over George Floyd raged outside White House

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/31/trump-flees-to-bunker-as-protests-over-george-floyd-rage-outside-white-house

Meanwhile, Joe Biden left his home Sunday afternoon amid the coronavirus pandemic to visit the site of last night’s protests in Wilmington, Delaware”

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/31/politics/joe-biden-delaware-protests/index.html

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.
The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use — of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.

Robert F. Kennedy

As long as men fear or distrust one another because of race, religion or ethnic origins, as long as any of the gates of opportunity are closed to the deserving, as long as there is unreasoning bigotry instead of understanding and tolerance, our Nation will fall short of its full power and greatness.

John F. Kennedy

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 209: MJ Arts Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

March 30, 2020

My tendency is to be a Rescuer—fixing the problems of others, when I encounter them. This tends to be very inconvenient, since I am also an introvert by nature; a time of “Social Distance” has very little impact on my daily life.
Having learned when I have offered to help with the COVID-19 Pandemic, that I am too old, too large, and too affected by my Neuropathy to be of use as a volunteer.
My solution: to make a series of “Super Heroes Wear Scrubs” illustrations, as well as a couple illustrations regarding the COVID-19 virus itself.
I will be posting these images on my retail store sites, so they can be used as T-shirts, mugs and Art Prints. However, since the object of creating these images isn’t earning money from the effort, I have created a Dropbox folder with the full-scale images enclosed. Since I don’t have the necessary equipment for making shirts and mugs and museum-quality prints, I am going to upload them to retail sites. The images in the Dropbox, all in png format, are based on an 11X17 sheet of paper. The actual sizes vary.

The first three images are already uploaded to my Society 6 retail store.
The remaining images will uploaded during this week.
https://society6.com/mjartscom

The other sites I will be uploading to, later in the week; same design, different products:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mjartscom

https://www.teepublic.com/user/mjartscom

https:///artrepreneur.com/p/mjartscom

http://artist.com/marty-jones-323

The images in the Dropbox, all in png format, are based on an 11X17 sheet of paper. The actual sizes vary.

COVID-19 Folder

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/trshpwioxvfi5x2/AAD415R93EmUzIfzs-lxTfC_a?dl=0

COVID-19 Virus.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5gj1ql16deawdtr/COVID-19%20Virus.png?dl=0

coughing man.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/54u2gfon8zb4elp/coughing%20man.png?dl=0

Scrubs 1.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nqy64ynjk2hp2wq/Scrubs%201.png?dl=0

Scrubs 2.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kfkmngt8h65e0wa/Scrubs%202.png?dl=0

Scrubs 3.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fn25ycpr678miyu/Scrubs%203.png?dl=0

scrubs 4.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kwkdykxl366rifa/scrubs%204.png?dl=0

scrubs 5.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ll7y8xcf58osazv/scrubs%205.png?dl=0

scrubs 6.png

https://www.dropbox.com/s/esojj1wcaireaks/scrubs%206.png?dl=0

Stay at home; stay well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 208: This one isn’t starting so well, either…

March 19, 2020

As of Thursday, March 19th, 2020, 1:13a there are 218,825 confirmed novel (new) coronavirus (2019-nCoV|COVID-19) cases in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been at least 8,810 deaths, worldwide. In the US, there have been 9,415 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 150 deaths. By the time most of you have read this, there will be over 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US. A confirmed case means that someone has been tested and found to be infected with the coronavirus. As of today, the only people in the US that are being tested are those in hospitals.

On Feb. 27, at a White House meeting, the President stated: “It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

Thursday, March 6th, 2020
The Trump administration on Friday sought to beat back criticism of its handling of the response to the deadly coronavirus, as President Trump and his aides played down the threat it poses and said Democrats and the media were overhyping the dangers of the outbreak. President Trump said Monday that he believed it was safe to continue holding campaign rallies across the country during the coronavirus outbreak. “I think it’s very safe,” Trump told reporters when asked whether he believed holding rallies was safe during an Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez on Monday morning.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-health-economic-risks/2020/02/28/0b817082-5a3a-11ea-9b35-def5a027d470_story.html

Thursday, March 19th, 2020
For weeks, President Trump has minimized the coronavirus, mocked concern about it and treated the risk from it cavalierly. On Tuesday he took to the White House lectern and made a remarkable assertion: He knew it was a pandemic all along.
“This is a pandemic,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/us/politics/trump-coronavirus.html

Always remember “Individual 1” The President is an unindicted criminal. He remains unindicted because of a Memo. The Memo isn’t a law or a statute; it’s simply a memo that floated around the Justice Department during the Nixon Presidency. According to the Memo, Sitting Presidents cannot be indicted regardless of their actions…

Donald J. Trump coordinated with Michael Cohen to commit federal campaign fraud, prosecutors state in a sentencing memo filed December 7, 2018 advising a substantial prison term for crimes to which Cohen has pleaded guilty.
Attorneys from the Southern District of New York state explicitly in the court filing that Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1” in handling payments to two women who claimed to have an affair with Trump long before the election. Trump is identified in this and other filings by U.S. attorneys as “Individual-1,” who “was elected President.” (The women are Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels.)
“I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with ‘Individual 1,’” Cohen said, reading from his prepared statement. “And for the record: ‘Individual 1’ is Donald J. Trump.”

Generations of former Presidents, good, bad and mediocre, have served as the example of how a President is supposed to act in public—a model for Civil Behavior. We have a President that does not comprehend Civil Behavior. He has never had to answer for his actions. He insults people he doesn’t like; a President who spends most of his days watching television and sending out comments via Twitter. A President who goes to rallies and tells lies to the American public.

The President has been impeached by the House of Representatives. He was given a ‘pass’ by Senators of his political party. Senators within his party admitted that it was completely clear that the President had abused the responsibilities of his office; but they refused to censure him or to remove him from office.

When the President leaves office, he will be arrested, tried and sent to jail. He does not want anyone to remember this.

———————————————————————

I started writing this post weeks ago; I have had trouble finding words that are of any meaning. The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected my life, my family’s lives, as it has affected a large segment of the world population. The City of Portland has drafted a Shelter-in-Place Order; it apparently is floating around City Government. The economic affect of such an order to would harm thousands of service workers in Portland. However, it would lessen the demand on local hospitals. This is the reason why world governments are trying to ‘Flatten the Curve’ on a virus that is highly contagious and has a mortality rate of 4.%. Our hospitals are unable to treat thousands of new patients.

The problem is that the COVID-19 virus appears to take about two weeks before symptoms develop. During that two weeks, a person can infect dozens of others simply by being in the same space—an office, a store, a park, a concert. COVID-19 advances through a population in an exponential curve: first one, then two, then 4, then 16, then 256… The only way to stop the advance is to isolate people, so that they cannot infect others without being aware they are doing the infecting.

———————————————————————

Our lives are filled with the tangible—the things we can feel, taste, smell, hear and see. However, the most important element of your life is entirely intangible: your Soul. You are not a human with a Soul; in reality you are a Soul with a body. Whenever someone thinks, ‘there’s got to be a better [life, job, place etc.] than here’, I believe the Soul is making a statement about fulfillment.

I’m not being religious here; I am writing as an Artist…Art is not a thing; it is a Way—an opening into the larger Universe in which we exist. To be an artist is to open a door… A door into a view of something larger than ourselves.

If you have never experienced an event in your life that cannot be explained by tangible circumstances, perhaps you haven’t been paying enough attention.

Vermeer-Geographer plus The Doctor

Humans devote an incredible amount of time and energy arguing about religion, especially in times of crisis. There is a horrid number of Evangelical preachers lying about their ability to heal COVID-19 through the television set, by way of magical cures, by the Power of Faith… They are lying. COVID-19 will either kill you, or more likely, will make you ill for a prolonged period. You may require hospitalization. But it won’t be cured by magic or religion

I spent the first 22 years of my life without any concept of religion. When I finally discovered Faith, I took my first opportunity to tell my parents about something we had never known. I was told that they did not want to hear a single word on the subject. I hadn’t been told about Faith because they had fled the church in their early twenties [a guess on my part—I learned this information from my wife].

There are many aspects of life on Earth that can’t easily be explained by some form of evolution or science. Most people ignore the awkward stuff. There are a lot of people in Houses of Worship that are there because their parents raised them amidst Houses of Worship. They never really had a chance to not-believe, until they moved out of their parents’ houses.

A constant, through Millennia on Earth, is a seeking of the Divine, on the part of human beings. There is evidence that implies that even Neanderthals might have had belief in the Divine, in some fashion. Some would argue that people who have religious beliefs are not much more advanced than a Neanderthal…

I do not have enough faith in science to believe that the Expanding Universe sprung into being on its own. Some believe that the Universe is expanding until it reaches some limit, and then it will collapse, and start over. Sorry, I can’t go there.

I believe that there is a Creator of the Universe; and there is but One Creator of the Universe. Whomever desires to serve the Divine, whomever reaches out to the Eternal, reaches out to the One. The One who goes by many names, here on Earth, and by other names throughout the Galaxy. This isn’t science fiction; it’s what lives beyond the open door… Wherever sentient beings inhabit planets in the Universe, there will be a “Jesus Story” similar to our own—entirely different details, entirely different beings; but the same story—Creator entered their time and space in order to show the inhabitants of those worlds how to live.

Sadly, enormously so, there are a whole bunch of people who say that they follow Jesus but want to have nothing to do with what He taught. People who spend a lot of energy exclaiming that the Bible is the Word of God, but choose to follow certain passages more strictly than other passages… Taking one verse out of the middle of a paragraph written thousands of years ago by people in the Eastern Hemisphere, who had no idea that a Western Hemisphere even existed. Not realizing that the numbers for chapters and verses were not added to “The Bible” until the 17th century… The oldest fragments of the New Testament are believed to have been written somewhere around 300 AD; these fragments, translations of Aramaic into Greek, do not even have spaces between words…

Editorial Cartoon by Ron Cobb

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 207: Darkness never sustains, part 2

February 10, 2020
Time Magazine, June 18, 2018   |   Lincoln Leaves the Memorial

Time Magazine was prescient in 2018, in regard to the current President, and his Impeachment Trial, one without witnesses or evidence. He posted a video on Twitter showing “Trump 4EVA” implying the beginning of a monarchy that will go on for every election to come, well into the 22nd Century.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1225174713992990721

Always remember “Individual 1”
Donald Trump coordinated with Michael Cohen to commit federal campaign fraud, prosecutors state in a sentencing memo filed December 7, 2018 advising a substantial prison term for crimes to which Cohen has pleaded guilty.

Attorneys from the Southern District of New York state explicitly in the court filing that Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1” in handling payments to two women who claimed to have an affair with Trump long before the election. Trump is identified in this and other filings by U.S. attorneys as “Individual-1,” who “was elected President.” (The women are Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels.)

“I pled guilty in federal court to felonies for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in coordination with ‘Individual 1,’” Cohen said, reading from his prepared statement. “And for the record: ‘Individual 1’ is Donald J. Trump.”

Laurence O’Donnell’s broadcast regarding “Individual-1”:

https://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/prosecutors-cohen-committed-crimes-at-the-direction-of-individual-1-aka-trump-1392139843963?fbclid=IwAR0-WHUn8A8nU4EUGye1bEzJ41SFUkGouPCwQiljugRqnUtPsJg0D1nU9A8

Donald J Trump remains unindicted because of a Memo at the Department of Justice left over from the Nixon Administration: the idea that a sitting President cannot be indicted. This isn’t stated in the Constitution, or in any Law currently on the books. It’s a Memo.
As soon as DJT leaves office, he will be arrested for multiple crimes; and he will likely die in jail. He has ‘immunity’ because of a Memo. I would not be surprised to learn, if he does not get elected in November, that he has made an unexpected trip to a non-extradition country in Air Force One, prior to the new President being sworn in. I would not be surprised if he kept the plane, as a gift to his host.

The Doctor, Riverbank, Autumn (Maxfield Parrish)

More from The Doctor [I take inspiration wherever I can find it]. The Doctor and her companions are at a resort on a world in the future. During the course of the story, they learn that fearsome creatures inhabit this planet. As so often happens, the builders of the resort carved a small portion of the uninhabitable world into a venue from which they could make a lot of money.
The resort having been invaded by the fearsome creatures, The Doctor and her companions are traveling through underground tunnels below the resort, when The Doctor spots a sign:

(The torchlight reveals a sign in Cyrillic alphabet.)
GRAHAM: That looks like Russian.
DOCTOR: Novosibirsk. It’s a Siberian underground station.
YASMIN: This is Earth.
GRAHAM: No, no, no, it can’t be Earth. This is nothing like Earth!
YASMIN: When did you know that it was Earth?
DOCTOR: Just before you did.
Look, I know what you’re thinking, but it’s one possible future. It’s one timeline. You want me to tell you that Earth’s going to be okay? Cos I can’t. In your time, humanity is busy arguing over the washing-up while the house burns down. Unless people face facts and change, catastrophe is coming. But it’s not decided. You know that. The future is not fixed. It depends on billions of decisions, and actions, and people stepping up. Humans. I think you forget how powerful you are. Lives change worlds. People can save planets or wreck them. That’s the choice. Be the best of humanity. Or…be the dregs of humanity…

Doctor Who Orphan 55 [2020]

Religious people often talk about life as if all of the events that happen are ordained by God, consequently [but silently] blaming God for planes that fall from the sky, the deaths of our fellow human beings, diseases that kill hundreds and thousands, etc. When one suggests that God doesn’t really ordain the death of Innocents, a frequent response is that ‘we cannot know the mind of God’. These concepts come from interpretations regarding the nature of Biblical statements; treating all of Scripture as being virtually written by the hand of God. An idea that hasn’t been held by Rabbinical scholars.

People of Faith, people that are Religious, want a world where their connection to Creator protects them from pain and suffering. An understandable desire; however, it’s a desire that overlooks the lives of Jesus and the Twelve. John had the best fortune in his life—he spent most of his life in prison. Every one of Jesus’ Apostles were tortured to death; Peter refused to be crucified in the manner of Jesus; he requested that he be crucified head down. Jesus promises Presence; He does not promise protection.

Creator knows everything about everyone for all of Time; but Creator does not ordain the events of our lives. Nothing that happens in our lives ever surprises Creator; we are frequently surprised by life’s events. We each have Free Will. We each have the opportunity, each day, to decide how we will respond to the world around us, the people around us, and how we will respond to the coming Climate crisis. Temperatures in portions of Antarctica—the frozen continent, larger than the United States—reached 65° last week; the highest temperature ever recorded. Here in Portland, the temperature was in the mild 50° range.

The portion of Antarctica that was in the hot [for Antarctica] range was about half the size of the United States. Shelves of ice, some the size of US states, surround Antarctica; when shelves break off, the water level in the ocean[s] rises [there is one Ocean—we label the ocean into smaller portions, for our convenience]. The Ocean has differing characteristics that are dependent upon temperature and undersea activity. One of Antarctica’s largest ice shelves appears to be melting from below by warmer-than-normal ocean currents. It’s cracking from above. When it breaks off from the continent, it will begin a melting process that will raise the sea level by feet.

Friends in Australia sent a video of rain; rain that hasn’t been seen in NSW for months. Smoke from Australia’s fires is of such volume that it has created its own weather system.

17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second consecutive year. I’m sure she would prefer to be able to be a normal teenager, rather than a cultural icon. Waiting for the ‘adults in the room’ to get their act together.

We can be the best of humanity; we have the potential. But we have to stop screwing around, pretending this isn’t our responsibility to fix.

There are the Religious who believe that the actions of the President are events that will usher in the End Times, prophesized as preceding the remaking of the earth by God. His thoughts at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast indicate that he’s simply courting voters that will keep him out of jail. His actions for decades have indicated that he only thinks of his own well-being.
What if his actions have nothing to do with Faith or Prophecy?

Christians argue whether the prophecies in the Book of Revelation are figurative or literal. Among the literals are the pre-millennialists and the post-millennialists; for the figurative, we have the a-millennialists. The time period that is covered under the term ‘millennialist’ is one thousand years. There are at least a thousand years of difference between the two extremes.

There are a scary number of people who have no idea that the President has been throwing out regulations that protect the environment—the Clean Water Act; the National Environmental Policy Act, ignoring the coming climate disaster—they only get their news reports from specific ‘news’ sources that accept everything the President says as True. That the House Impeachment was an attempt to smear the President’s ‘good name’. People who frankly welcome the President staying in office as long as his party can enable him to do.

Approximately 48% of the Electorate chose not to vote in the 2016 Election. Their choice to not vote is the reason the President is in office.

We are arguing about the washing-up, while the house—our world—is burning. “The future is not fixed. It depends on billions of decisions, and actions, and people stepping up. Humans. I think you forget how powerful you are. Lives change worlds. People can save planets or wreck them. That’s the choice. Be the best of humanity.”

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 205: Christmas

December 23, 2019

Adoration of the Magi and a Time Lord

The Doctor: Right then, follow me.
Rickston Slade: Hang on a minute. Who put you in charge, and who the hell are you anyway?
The Doctor: I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous. I’m 903 years old and I’m the man who is gonna save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that?
————————————————–
Astrid: This Christmas thing? What’s it about?
The Doctor: Long story. I should know. I was there. I got the last room.
Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned (2007)

First of all, I don’t believe that I am the arbiter of when Christmas occurs. By the Roman Catholic tradition, I’m jumping the gun—Christmas is Wednesday, not today, Monday. By television commercial tradition, I’m about a month behind. I saw the first Christmas commercial on the day after Thanksgiving. Early yesterday morning, in what was my ‘night before last night’ I changed my playlist to “Christmas in Our Time”.

I’m a fan of the Doctor, if you haven’t already figured that out. I’m not a Whovian.
In this time of political warfare, I view the Doctor as the Hero/Heroine who never fights with weapons; although The Doctor does use the evil of others to betray themselves. Much like politics today.

In the image above, from the doorway to the right, is a copy of an obscure Norman Rockwell painting. Until recently, my version stopped behind Joseph. While church tradition has the Magi visiting the infant in the manger, the Massacre of the Innocents took place by Roman soldiers killing infants under two years of age, so that Herod would not be usurped from his throne by a new King. Consequently, the Magi probably came to the house of Joseph and Mary when Jesus was around two years of age.

I’m not fond of religious movies, but The Young Messiah asks interesting questions. The story takes place when Jesus is 7 years of age; and already aware that he isn’t like other children. He has “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men” [the opening to the television version of Superman, starring the tragic George Reeves]. Powers and abilities that young Jesus has to keep hidden. In one scene, Joseph says to Mary, “How do we explain God to his own son? I can’t. Can you?”

We tend to get caught up in the infinitesimal; rather than the infinite.

 

 

Creator is creating the entire Universe.
There is no evidence that the Universe is complete.
There are only theories.

NGC 4380 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Virgo

a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away

If you can only see Jesus through a First Century lens, you may not understand your faith. If Jesus only has meaning for you in the story of the Nativity during the Christmas season, then you probably don’t understand your faith.

There are planets in the galaxy we know as NGC 4380; we do not know if these planets are inhabited. We may never know, here on Earth. However, if Newton’s Laws of Motion are accurate, these Laws will apply on NGC 4380. If not there, then Newton’s observations are not Laws, they are merely explanations.
If there are sentient beings on inhabited planets in the NGC 4380 galaxy, they too will have a ‘Jesus’ story. A story of the Creator who became ‘human’ in whatever sense ‘human’ applies there. At Christmas we don’t hear of a fairy tale that takes place in a barn, witnessed by Angels and shepherds and cattle. We hear a story of the Creator of the entire Universe entering our time and space in the form of one cell implanted in the womb of a teenager named Mary. Nine months later, Mary gave birth to a boy named Jesus. Jesus grew up as a child grows, observing and learning what all human children observe and learn.

At Christmas, God acted, God moved, God initiated.
The first prayer any believer ought to pray is “Thank you.” God didn’t have to come.
Who would have thought that God—the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all that is—would have come as a little baby?
God surprises us in our lives. The principle is this: Whatever you think God is doing in your life right now, he probably isn’t. That principle helps me live with the paradox of trying to put God in a box. You see, he wants us to learn to trust him no matter what happens. Meaning isn’t to be found in having all questions answered, all problems solved, all ambiguity resolved. Meaning is found only in the fact that Jesus has come. If that is true, then the rest will be okay.

Steve Brown

Hugo, Advent 2019

 

 

 

 


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