Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 214: Cosmic Dissonance

July 28, 2020

I intended to send this before my post of yesterday. Frustration changed that plan.

Testing Facebook censors

She’s being called, “The Naked Athena”—
Athena or Athene,  is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare…

We have unwanted Federal Troops making war on peaceful protestors. There are tens of people spray painting Federal buildings and breaking glass. There were looters, 50 nights ago. There are thousands of people exercising their right to peaceably assemble. Sadly, there has been a shift from Black Lives Matter to Portland vs. Trump.

Hundreds of mothers have attended demonstrations and stood as a human barricade between protesters and federal officers
It took the killing of George Floyd to get Jane Ullman to finally pay attention to what the police were up to in America. But it was the sinister sight of federal agents in camouflage snatching demonstrators off the streets of Portland that got her out to protest.
The chief financial officer for tech startups in Oregon’s biggest city joined hundreds of other mothers dressed in yellow in a “Wall of Moms”, turning out each evening to stand as a human barricade between protesters and agents dispatched by Donald Trump to aggressively break up Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Ullman, a mother of two, said it was her first demonstration in support of racial justice.
As an upper-middle-class white woman in the whitest city in America, I couldn’t stand by any longer,” she said. “I’ve been doing a lot of self-educating since George Floyd. Reading and learning. The feds’ part in it pushed me over the top. I wanted to take action. But it was the ‘Wall of Moms’ that brought me out.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/21/trump-federal-agents-portland-protests-moms

The Naked Athena decided to take action by confronting armed troops by walking up to them, and practicing yoga in the middle of the street, wearing a face mask and a beanie; and that which she was given by Creator. Overwhelmed by this display [she still needed protection from tear gas and rubber bullets] the troops finally left.
We live in a time of Cosmic Dissonance, or Cognitive Dissonance:

a theory of attitude formation and behavior describing a motivational state that exists when a person’s cognitive elements (attitudes, perceived behaviors, etc.) are inconsistent with each other (dissonance), such as the espousal of the Ten Commandments concurrent with the belief that it is all right to cheat on one’s taxes…

https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Theory+of+cognitive+dissonance

Contemporary notions of a meaningful life are often caught between two worlds: a deep human yearning for cosmic meaning, on the one hand, and a seemingly random, impersonal, contingent universe on the other hand. And, also, there seems to be the fact that “the more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/harvard-theological-review/article/cosmic-meaning-awe-and-absurdity-in-the-secular-age-a-critique-of-religious-nontheism/03124514884171B3BDB14F4B9DDDBEBB/core-reader

The President, like all bullies, wants to project aggression—such as calling himself a ‘wartime President’ in regard to COVID-19, while doing absolutely nothing to combat the Pandemic. So now, he wants to project the idea of being a ‘Law and Order President’…
If anyone has been paying attention for these lost four years, it is clear to see that he’s one of the worst offenders of Law and Order ever known in American History. Our President is an unindicted criminal who will be arrested the moment the next President finishes taking his Oath of Office. He may end up being a ‘next door neighbor’ to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who is in prison for the crimes he committed under the instruction of the person the court records call, “Individual One”. At his appearance before Congress, Cohen identified “Individual One” as being Donald J. Trump.

enough of that

Starship Discovery

I enjoy watching science fiction. I don’t have a problem choosing between Star Trek and Star Wars. They involve two different galaxies and a large amount of time.
Science fiction brings stories of possibilities. The first season of Star Trek Discovery was mostly about War. In the second season, the stories are more about scientific discovery. A human conflict in the story I watched again an hour ago caused me to think about Cosmic/Cognitive Dissonance—when two separate ideas exist in the same person.

It is necessary to explain that Michael Burnham is a woman, having been a rescued, parentlelss human child who was raised on the planet Vulcan, where emotion is required to be subdued into silence. Vulcans believe in the predominance of Science. Vulcans do not know of a god who guides their way. This may not have been the case in the far distant past… Michael was fostered by a human mother married to a Vulcan scientist. Michael’s foster brother is a Vulcan named Spock.
From Star Trek Discovery Season 2, Episode 5 – Saints of Imperfection:

Michael Burnham:
I envy those who can believe there is a greater hand, writing our story, who chooses the words to keep chaos at bay: Connection. Joy. Love. And resurrection.
With these words, the path becomes clear for a moment, and then disappears.
If I have a path…I’m still searching for it.
We all are.
That’s how we find our way, by choosing to walk forward, together.
And if there is a greater hand leading us into an uncertain future…
…I can only hope it guides us well.

Michael’s words above make sense to me. I was not raised in the Church or raised with any philosophical lifestyle. When Spock was introduced to America, I finally understood who I was—a Vulcan child shipwrecked on Earth…
I was introduced to Faith in my twenties, during my third of five years at Universities. LARGE parts of contemporary Christian beliefs remain totally weird, even though I dedicated my life to my Creator forty-seven years ago. So, I study that which people who study theology present to me. Theologians who decipher nearly dead languages, often translated by theologians who did the best they could but were subject to human error.

Jerome of Stridon, was a Latin priest, confessor, theologian, and historian; he is commonly known as Saint Jerome. Jerome is recognised as a saint and Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Anglican Communion. In 390 A.D. he turned to translating the Hebrew Bible from the original Hebrew, having previously translated portions from the Septuagint which came from Alexandria…He completed this work by 405 A.D. Prior to Jerome’s Vulgate, all Latin translations of the Old Testament were based on the Septuagint, not the Hebrew. Jerome’s decision to use a Hebrew text instead of the previous-translated Septuagint went against the advice of most other Christians, including Augustine, who thought the Septuagint inspired. Modern scholarship, however, has sometimes cast doubts on the actual quality of Jerome’s Hebrew knowledge…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome

My use of the words, ‘human error’ in conjunction with Scripture will drive many people that I know, nuts. They have been taught that the Bible [usually the version they prefer] is totally without error. The Bible covers thousands of years of history; much of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament may have been assembled in the 5th century BCE. However, the books of the Prophets cover events that occurred two to three centuries before. People did not have pencils and notepads in the 8th Century BCE; there were means of writing down events, but they were not very portable. These writings are not the same as a journalist’s record of events, to which we are accustomed.

There are many people, some of whom I worship alongside in the church we have served for 15 years, who believe the catastrophic events we are living through are ushering in the Second Coming of Christ. Consequently, these people don’t seem to be too interested in addressing these events in terms of what they can do to make the planet safer. ‘After all, Jesus is coming soon, and we don’t need to worry about it because we are Saved.’ I heard this statement from a US Senator, not from friends at church.
The message of the Second Coming is the same message I heard 47 years ago. It seemed real then, also. Communism, Nuclear War, anti-Vietnam protests and a deceitful President [#37] were among the events that would usher in the End Times; including the IBM 666 computer and bar codes stamped on people’s bodies… For those who believe, 50 years of waiting isn’t a problem. Fifty years from now, there will be a new Earth created by the wasteful, blind, human race. There is no guarantee that we will be rescued; it is an interpretation of words from other languages.
The Revelation to John [and other titles] was written around AD 90, supposedly by the Apostle John, which would make him very old, for the first century. The book is filled with imagery that people have been attempting to understand for close to 2000 years. A lot of American Christians believe that the book includes events that will occur in the United States, even though at the time, no one knew of the existence of the Americas [“god knew about the Americas”]. My writing of these ideas will be considered by some as blasphemy.

Jesus stated that He did not know when He would return to Earth, when the ‘new heaven and the new earth’ would occur. The Creator in human form did not know, but a lot of religious leaders apparently have a better source for information. Preachers who heal people in churches, but do not perform healings in the overrun hospitals in rural Texas, where doctors are having to decide who lives and who dies.
“That’s how we find our way, by choosing to walk forward, together…” I believe there is a greater Hand leading us into a certain future… and I will continue to do what I can to influence that future toward the Hands of the Creator by welcoming those who lack certainty. And I certainly won’t drive people away from me because they do not see what I see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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 206: Darkness never sustains

January 23, 2020

Forty-plus years ago, Faith unexpectedly changed the course of my life. Faith/religion was barely mentioned in my family growing up. My parents’ ‘religion’ was the American Legion. When I started working on my degree in Architecture, I learned about Christians—mostly the people one finds in the news, nowadays fawning at the feet of the criminal* that sits behind the Resolute Desk. Christians claiming that I was going to Hell; when they didn’t even know my name, much less my spiritual beliefs. It wasn’t until my third year of college that I learned about Faith; a concept that is different from religion; and especially the Civil Religion practiced today in America and highlighted in the news. Over the course of the decades, I’ve visited a variety of churches, and have been involved with several denominations. Based on my observations, my conclusions are that most church goers have very little information about what goes on in other denominations; and that denominations are the result of a theological argument with other people.

One consistent message I’ve heard in every denomination, is that people who live like the criminal* behind the Resolute Desk are going to Hell. It’s a central premise of the American Civil Religion; a premise that apparently is superseded by the ability to appoint Conservative judges and the ability to eliminate abortion providers. If one has those two ‘superpowers’ then it apparently doesn’t matter how one lives their life, or what one believes. Con men on steroids.

It is Important to realize that the only people Jesus provoked were members of the Religious Right at the time when “B.C.” became “A.D.” However, the Religious Right never before had access to nuclear weapons.

Let Your Faith Light  © Ron Cobb

* the unindicted co-conspirator known as “Individual 1” in the indictment of Michael Cohen, Donald J. Trump’s personal attorney; imprisoned for bank fraud, insurance fraud, breaking campaign finance laws, tax evasion, and bribery

In times like these, find that I need Heroes to help me find Hope.
Not the movie heroes who are ‘the good guy’ because the other one is the ‘bad guy’ even though they act the same. I need Heroes who ‘play by a different set of rules.’

Heroes who Refuse to give in to the darkness that surrounds us today.
The darkness is deep.

Thankfully, there is a Time Lord.

The new series of Doctor Who has begun. In the second episode of Spyfall, The Doctor explains the unexpected predicament in which she finds herself, while in 1943 Paris, to Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron, who minutes before was in London of 1834.

“Ada? Are you all right?” (Distant gunfire)
“I have always wanted to return to Paris.”
“It’s not at its best. Nightly bombing raids. Millions dead. They promised that war at this scale would never happen again, and yet here we are.”
“This isn’t the first time? Who are you?”
“I’m your ally, I promise. This is the future. A world on fire. These are the dark times. But they don’t sustain. Darkness never sustains…even though sometimes it feels like it might.”

For two years I worked on illustrating my Sherlock Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia, while listening to The Scandal in Washington D.C. A Scandal that deepens day by day, week by week.
If you spend much time looking at news headlines, you will find that there are many who claim that there is a Divine Element in all that is happening at this time. There are always people always want to justify their actions by some sort of Divine Intervention. White Evangelicals point to passages in Scripture as justification for their ideas that the American President is bringing about the Second Coming of God. The Prophets of the Older Testament were very aware that if what they spoke in the Name of Creator did not come about, they would be stoned to death, as false prophets. People aren’t stoned to death because of inaccurate comments made on Social Media…

The question I keep asking the Universe, is what will the White Evangelical Church say when the man they believe appointed by the Creator to lead this country, goes to jail.

In my opinion, these religious ideas refer to the concept of a local deity; not the Creator of the entire Universe. I believe that the Creator of the Universe already knows the fate of the American President. Creator knows the fate of our world.

The 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

Any Truth about the Creator that is True on Earth; that is True in our Solar System; is True throughout the Universe. Or not.

“Eternal” does not mean a really long time.
“Infinite” does not mean a really large distance.

From a theological perspective, Eternal and Infinite refer to magnitudes that human understanding does not comprehend; and probably cannot comprehend. Because the Creator is Infinite, the Creator knows the fate of any living creature in the Universe, at any point in recorded history; in the history that has not yet been recorded; and with history that could not be documented. Essentially, Infinite refers to ‘database storage’ that has no end. But the Creator is far more than database storage. Perhaps, Sentient database storage. Sentient means there is awareness of what is happening; and the ability to take part in what is happening.

Scripture talks about the Creator knowing all there is to know about the flight of every sparrow and the loss of any hair that falls from any hair-bearing creature [throughout the entire Universe]. Humans say that ‘this can’t be true, it’s impossible.’ We understand the Possible, based on our intellect and our education. Physicists speculate on ideas that are beyond the understanding of most people [myself included]. We are accustomed to three dimensions—length, width and height. Some of us are accustomed the concept of a fourth dimension—time. I fell in love with the concept of Time Travel in the 1960s, as a boy. I first saw the movie, “The Time Machine” [1960] one afternoon in my elementary school. I could not comprehend the ‘physics’ of Time Travel, but my imagination had been sparked.

There are physicists who believe that there could be eleven dimensions. For years, I’ve said that if there are eleven dimensions, I believe one of those dimensions will be a dimension of Faith. I make such statements because I have experienced things in this life of Faith that I cannot begin to explain; and cannot believe that what I experienced was imaginary.

If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand.
Righteous Brothers – Rock and Roll Heaven (1974)

Darkness never sustains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 203: Advent

December 8, 2019

An Elder at our church this morning wished everyone, “Merry Christmas!”

I’m not Catholic, but for a number of years I hung around with the Sisters of the Holy Names at Marylhurst… The title of my blog comes from the Liturgical Calendar. After Pentecost, and before Advent, the calendar is in Ordinary Time. I feel as if most of my life has been lived in Ordinary Time.

Christmas is on December 25th. It’s probably appropriate to use the greeting above on Christmas Eve. Christmas ends on January 6th, with the Feast of the Epiphany. That’s when the guys above arrived in Bethlehem. Followed by, but not celebrated, is The Massacre of the Innocents; see Chronicles in Ordinary Time 201: Massacre of the Innocents

I dislike this time of year.

The Creator of the entire Universe did not create a single cell, implanted into the womb of a teenaged girl, so that we could all shop. The Creator did not enter time and space in the form of Jesus in order that we might have another excuse to spend money. Granted, we live in a Market Economy; Black Friday is traditionally the time when retail stores finally make a profit—going from ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’.

My wife and I don’t ‘do Christmas’. The Christmas decorations we have, are present all the time. We stopped ‘doing Christmas’ when my Mom died. She came to live with us on Christmas Eve for the last year of her life; she went to her eternal Home, one year later. After the morticians left, we went to the Christmas Eve service at the church we belonged to back then. People were surprised; for us, being with our Church family was the most natural thing to do, at such a time.

We ‘did Christmas’ when our children lived with us. There is a ‘magical’ element when one mixes children and Christmas. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra has been attached to children and Christmas for the last Millennium.

As humans eventually do, we mess up the meaning of the Story.

The Creator entered time and space in the form of Jesus in order that we might learn how to live. I saw the image below, posted today.

This is not how we are supposed to live.

Modern holy family by Eric Fitzpatrick

There will be children in cages, at our Southern Border, this Christmas. They probably will not see any gifts, nor Christmas trees. They may see another young person beside them, dying in the ‘care’ of ICE.

[Last] month, new government data shows…an unprecedented 69,550 migrant children held in U.S. government custody over the past year, enough infants, toddlers, kids and teens to overflow the typical NFL stadium. That’s more children detained away from their parents than any other country, according to United Nations researchers. And it’s happening even though the U.S. government has acknowledged that being held in detention can be traumatic for children, putting them at risk of long-term physical and emotional damage.

https://apnews.com/015702afdb4d4fbf85cf5070cd2c6824

I know people who simply do not care. They have told me that these people don’t belong here anyway. Our President, in this last year, has announced that ‘we are full’. Food rots in fields because there are no pickers to harvest the crops. And our President has hired undocumented workers at his golf facilities for years.

We should be ashamed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 202: busy making other plans

December 1, 2019

It’s been a month since I wrote one of these chapters of my Chronicles; I don’t really expect that anyone has noticed. Phrases like ‘heart-sick’ come to mind, as reasons for not writing.

I was vaguely aware of Watergate [1974] while in my fourth of my five years of working on a degree in Architecture. I’d voted for Nixon, twice—I was a Republican by ‘birth’—I’d grown up in my parents’ “church,” the American Legion. I was vaguely aware of the Clinton impeachment [1998]—I was 36 and dealing with my health, my dependence on barbiturates and a demand from my doc that I leave a very well-paying job with City government—to go I knew not where… “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”[John Lennon].

Now, I’m self-employed, theoretically retired [but grossly in debt] in a becalmed ‘sailboat’ of business where the wind has stopped blowing. I have no excuse for not paying attention to the current chaos in Washington DC.

One of the Chronicles I postponed announced the publication of my Sherlock Holmes story, A Scandal in Bohemia [more below] by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In the grand scheme of things, it did not seem that important—even though I’ve spent the last 2-3 years working on Scandal at night, while listening to the Scandal in Washington DC, on MSNBC.

At Thanksgiving with my in-laws [fortunately we are pretty much the same in political opinions] I heard the comment, ‘until money gets out of politics, I don’t care.’ We really weren’t having a discussion on politics, so I didn’t ask for more information. The reality is that until we do care, money won’t get out of politics. Until we do care about the environment, and the damage the First World is doing to the Created Order, we in the First World will be creating an uninhabitable Earth; and my infant grandson won’t have a world that is desirable to live in. We, here in Western Oregon, aren’t really feeling the effects of Climate Change; the temperatures are different; it still rains; we may get snow this year. There are rivers that flood, but we aren’t flooded; there weren’t any massive fires this last year; one can still drink water from the tap.

Of course, we also live in the Cascadia Subduction Zone:
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a 600-mile fault that runs from northern California up to British Columbia and is about 70-100 miles off the Pacific coast shoreline. There have been 41 earthquakes in the last 10,000 years within this fault that have occurred as few as 190 years or as much as 1200 years apart. The last earthquake that occurred in this fault was on January 26, 1700, with an estimated 9.0 magnitude. This earthquake caused the coastline to drop several feet and a tsunami to form and crash into the land. What is most surprising is that evidence for this great earthquake also came from Japan. Japanese historic records indicate that a destructive distantly-produced tsunami struck their coast on January 26, 1700. By studying the geological records and the flow of the Pacific Ocean, scientists have been able to link the tsunami in Japan with the great earthquake from the Pacific Northwest. Native American legends also support to the timing of this last event.

Oregon has the potential for a 9.0+ magnitude earthquake caused by the Cascadia Subduction Zone and a resulting tsunami of up to 100 feet in height that will impact the coastal area. There is an estimated 2-4 minutes of shaking or rolling that will be felt along the coastline with the strength and intensity decreasing the further inland you are.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone has not produced an earthquake since 1700 and is building up pressure where the Juan de Fuca Plate is subsiding underneath the North American plate. Currently, scientists are predicting that there is about a 37 percent chance that a megathrust earthquake of 7.1+ magnitude in this fault zone will occur in the next 50 years. This event will be felt throughout the Pacific Northwest.

https://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Cascadia-Subduction-Zone.aspx

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

These men were drawn in conjunction with several others, for a gallery piece I call “John_10:16” [“But I have other sheep which were not from this fold; I must also bring them. They also will hear my voice, and the entire fold shall be one, and One Shepherd.” Aramaic Bible in Plain English]

Thanksgiving has been bastardized by White American history. The ‘Pilgrims’ actually called themselves Separatists and came to establish a Theocracy in the New World. There isn’t one correct interpretation of that story of Thanksgiving that I heard all through my childhood; there isn’t one Thanksgiving and the date of Thanksgiving at first has moved throughout the fall season.  An interesting article on the Thanksgiving Controversies can be found here [no reporters taking notes; no cameras, no audio tracks]—sort of like today, and calls to Ukraine:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/21/us/thanksgiving-myths-fact-check.html

“Medicine Bottle,” above, was photographed by Edward S. Curtis while awaiting his hanging for the crime of being a Sioux Indian. While primarily known for their peaceful accomplishments, the other three were hated by many for simply existing; and for existing here before the Separatists arrived.

When I first started, in my third year of college, to follow the Jesus Way, as it is sometimes known among the Indigenous Populations of America, I knew that I was involved in a life-changing undertaking; I did not realize the manner in which the Jesus Way would become the center of my life. When I was the ages of my adult children, I was mostly about work, and attempting to comprehend how small children were supposed to be part of my life. Spending time with my infant grandson [my granddaughter is 17], I find myself in that same mystery. It takes so long, before one can actually discuss things with a child… My grandchild is being very well programmed by loving parents and grandparents. Brand new computer brain without ports; our programming comes through the senses.

The heart-sickness I feel comes from the fact that a significant portion of the Evangelical Church believes that the man who sits behind the Resolute Desk, in the Oval Office, was “chosen by God to be President of the United States”. A man who is a criminal, a man whose behavior contradicts everything White Evangelicals teach their children. The unindicted Co-Conspirator of his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who is in jail for money laundering, bank fraud and tax fraud; plus, other indictments. The only reason the man behind the Resolute Desk is not in jail is a memo from the Justice Department that says a sitting President cannot be indicted. Once he leaves office he WILL be going to jail.

Nixon was not impeached; because Republican Senators brought the evidence of Nixon’s crimes to him, and he chose to resign from office. He was pardoned by Gerald Ford, his successor, for the ‘good of the nation’. Nixon had not confessed to anything; and yet, was pardoned. Nixon’s Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, resigned from office because he was indicted for heading up an extortion scheme. This resignation was prompted by the Department of Justice, because they didn’t want an extortionist [his bagman delivered bags of cash to the Vice President’s office each week] to become President. Gerald Ford was selected to replace Agnew, because Ford was so easily confirmed.

President William Clinton was impeached for Obstruction of Justice and lying to Congress. That’s it. He wasn’t impeached for his affair with a staffer, because adultery isn’t a Federal crime.

Trump’s list of crimes is too long to be summarized.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/trump-has-committed-a-laundry-list-of-impeachable-offenses/

For the Evangelical Church to ignore these crimes, or to attribute Trump’s character to that of Old Testament pagan Kings who allowed Jews to practice their religious rites is hard for me to swallow. They trade conservative judges and anti-abortion legislation for humanitarian crises; the kidnapping of thousands of children, while their parents were deported. I was trained in direct sales [work I did not enjoy]—I don’t see how the Evangelical Church can ‘save face’ when Trump goes to prison. Creating an environment where a customer has the ability to ‘save face’ when their ‘facts’ are displayed as false, is an important factor in sales.

The Evangelical Church is creating a plank that will become very difficult to walk upon, once DJT goes to prison.

 

Enough of that.

 

A Scandal in Bohemia was first published on 25 June 1891 in the July issue of The Strand Magazine. This is the first short story, and the third story featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion, Doctor Watson. “A Scandal in Bohemia,” is the first of the 56 Holmes short stories written by Doyle for the Strand Magazine; and the first of the 38 Sherlock Holmes works illustrated by Sidney Paget.

After the short story was published, the circulation of the Strand Magazine increased immediately. Sir Arthur had already published two full-length Holmes books, “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Sign of Four,” however these books were not as successful as the Strand’s stories. Within the span of two years, the combination of Sherlock Holmes and the Strand had made Sir Arthur Conan Doyle one of the most popular authors of the age.

  • Illustration Tip #25: Chronicles in Ordinary Time 202: Still More Marketing

So you’ve finished writing and illustrating your book; you have battled the Amazon KDP computer’s programming to create the book they want; now you need to get the fact that your book has been published, to people who want to buy a book.

Editorial Note: I probably spent 10 hours attempting to get Scandal formatted the way I wanted; and I did not succeed with the print-on-demand version. I bought two copies of the book, and discovered the pagination was wrong. The KDP computer has its own ideas as to how books should be presented. I want the book to start on the right-hand page; as well as the Title Page, and the Forward. This requires the insertion of ‘blank’ pages. When Amazon used CreateSpace for print-on-demand, their computer had different rules. In order for a page to not be ‘blank’, it had to have ink on the page. So, I simply put “mjarts.com” at the bottom of the ‘blank’ pages. The KDP computer apparently is programmed differently, so a larger area of the page needs ink.

In theory, one can submit new manuscripts to correct the ‘errors’ the computer discerns. At least, in theory. I submitted new manuscripts with the errors corrected; and I received the exact same report regarding errors. The computer apparently remembered who I was, and what computer I used; and assumed that I was unable to correct the manuscript. I then started submitting the corrected manuscript with progressively shorter names. I eventually submitted manuscripts called John, Paul, George and Ringo; as well as the Beatles. All of them resulted in the same no-longer-existing ‘errors’—even when I used a different computer. I finally gave up. I may try again. The story might be different if I really desired/expected the book to become a best seller…

The reality is that I created the book for me.

My first colored children’s book was published by a major educational publisher, and this book about the Oregon Trail had a clearly ‘Oregon’ title. I later learned that the only way the book would be purchased was through the purchase of a Fifth-Grade curriculum. If the curriculum wasn’t purchased, the book would not be distributed. To me, it seemed irrational to print a book about the Oregon Trail, and to not market the book to the States the Oregon Trail passed through. My guess is that the copies I ordered for myself may have been the only copies to see the light of day.

My understanding is that it’s now harder yet to get a book published for placement in bookstores. Unless it’s a book by Paul or Ringo…

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 201: Massacre of the Innocents

November 2, 2019

Rubens – Massacre of the Innocents

As the story is told in the Gospel of Matthew, in the time of King Herod, Magi from the East came to Palestine looking for a new King who had been born. “We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”  Matthew 2:2

Magi were priests in Zoroastrianism and the earlier religions of the western Iranians. The earliest known use of the word magi is in the trilingual inscription written by Darius the Great, known as the Behistun Inscription. Old Persian texts, predating the Hellenistic period, refer to a magus as a Zurvanic, and presumably Zoroastrian, priest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi

The Magi had come to Palestine, following a new star in the sky—a star whose light from millions of miles away had just arrived in the Solar system.

They came before King Herod, asking about the new King. Herod had not heard of this King, but asked the Magi, on their return home, to tell him the whereabouts of this new King, so that Herod could go honor him. In time, Herod realized that the Magi were not returning by way of Jerusalem and ordered the deaths of all boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, according to the time frame he had learned from the Magi. Joseph, the husband of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was warned of this slaughter in a dream, and took his family to Egypt.

History calls this time the “Massacre of the Innocents”. This was the world into which Jesus was born.

This is our time, also. The American President, who after a telephone call, removed American troops from Syria; so that the Turkish military could slaughter Kurdish infants, children, women, the elderly and the Kurdish soldiers who defended their homeland. This portion of Syria is now being claimed by the Turkish and Russian governments. The American President’s first Secretary of Defense is now awaiting his sentencing for being an undeclared agent of the Turkish Government, employed by the Turkish government…

Lives ruined for generations because of a stupid telephone call and an undisclosed discussion. The results of that discussion will be on the head of the American President.

In another chapter of “Massacre of the Innocents”, new information has been released regarding children kidnapped by the American government, as they seek asylum in a country that officially does not want them to come here.

“In all, the administration has taken at least 5,460 children from their parents. That is a stain on Mr. Trump, on the government he leads and on America.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/only-now-do-we-understand-the-true-cruelty-of-trumps-family-separation/2019/10/29/8294ef9e-f9cf-11e9-ac8c-8eced29ca6ef_story.html

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, I remember listening to President Ronald Reagan describe America as a ‘city shining on a hill’ as he ended his tenure as President. His ‘trickle down’ economic policy has turned out to be a total disaster; and he spoke of a country that does not appear to exist today:

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind, it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace – a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors, and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c32G868tor0

Those doors are closed today.

 

President Clinton was impeached for his actions on two Articles of Impeachment: Lying Under Oath and Obstruction of Justice. No one died as a result of his violation of his Oath of Office.

It’s doubtful that the President’s actions toward Syria and his cruelty to those seeking asylum will be included in the upcoming Articles of Impeachment, and the Impeachment Hearing that may start later this month. These crimes are merely immoral, not illegal.

Lives ruined for generations that, in reality, are not only the responsibility of the President, but are the responsibility of every American adult living at this moment. We allowed it to happen. There are people at the church I attend that do not even consider these immoralities to be wrong…

I again wonder, why do I stay?

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 200: Time and Space, Part Three

September 23, 2019
Keep your faith. Travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you… constantly.The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos (2018)

For centuries, scientists/physicists have been trying to understand the nature of Gravity. The reality is that there are theories about Gravity which we believe apply throughout our Solar System; analysis of the telemetry for far-distant stars seem to conform with this thinking. However, until humans can leave our Solar System, these ideas will remain theoretical.

Gravity is most accurately described by the general theory of relativity (proposed by Albert Einstein in 1915) which describes gravity not as a force, but as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime caused by the uneven distribution of mass. The most extreme example of this curvature of spacetime is a black hole, from which nothing—not even light—can escape once past the black hole’s event horizon. However, for most applications, gravity is well approximated by Newton’s law of universal gravitation, which describes gravity as a force which causes any two bodies to be attracted to each other, with the force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity

NASA’s Gravity Probe B (GP-B) mission has confirmed two key predictions derived from Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which the spacecraft was designed to test. GP-B determined both effects with unprecedented precision by pointing at a single star, IM Pegasi, while in a polar orbit around Earth.

To a degree, the concept of the Soul is largely a theory.

The soul, in many religious, philosophical, and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche (Ancient Greek: ψυχή psykhḗ, of ψύχειν psýkhein, “to breathe”) comprises the mental abilities of a living being: reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be mortal or immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls (although immortality is disputed within Judaism and the concept of immortality may have been influenced by Plato).
The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of “Soul” may be equated with that of “Mind” in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul

While there is ‘evidence’ in my own life that points to the existence of my Soul, I have no way of transferring my ‘evidence’ to your brain. The first Believer I ever met, one who wasn’t attempting to convince me to believe what he believed, was a guy named Brad. He introduced me to a Way of Life that I had never imagined; he invited me to join him on his journey, but there was no coercion. He introduced me to friends of his that were traveling the same path; but again, no one tried to change the way that I thought. In time, I realized that these people saw the world from a perspective I’d never had; they believed there is a Creator who is active in the lives of humans.
I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ Country Music; I’m not fond of twangy singing, however, I enjoy well-played fiddles and guitars. While the genre began in America with the Blues and the Old-Time music of the South, it was the phonograph record and radio stations that spread the music across the country. The music evolved with the preferences and circumstances of the nation. To a degree [as with rock & roll], the genre began with the music of the Church—the gospel songs and rhythms sung by congregations.
A comment was made about “the primitive Baptist Church” and how it influenced the music of Hank Williams…

Primitive Baptists are firmly in the mold of a traditional Calvinist denomination. According to Old School Baptist, they adhere to the five points of historical Calvinism: Total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and preservation and perseverance. The adjective “primitive” in the name is used in the sense of “original”.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_Baptists

The Wanderer
Song by U2 starring Johnny Cash

I went out walking through streets paved with gold
Lifted some stones, saw the skin and bones
Of a city without a soul
I went out walking under an atomic sky
Where the ground won’t turn and the rain it burns
Like the tears when I said goodbye.
Yeah, I went with nothing, nothing but the thought of you.
I went wandering.
I went drifting through the capitals of tin
Where men can’t walk or freely talk
And sons turn their fathers in.
I stopped outside a church house
Where the citizens like to sit.
They say they want the kingdom
But they don’t want God in it.

My experience has been that there are Christians who will extract one or two sentences from a chapter of Scripture, paying no attention to context, and find meaning for their lives because “the Bible is the Word of God.” While there are Believers who speak of ‘Biblical Inerrancy’ and talk about the ‘Word of God,’ most Believers know very little about the making of the ‘Word of God’. For example, they do not know about the texts that were used in the translation of the manuscripts that go into the book we know as the Bible.

The Codex Sinaiticus, or Sinai Book, is an ancient fourth century C.E. Bible handwritten in the Greek language. The manuscript contains the Septuagint, a version of the Old Testament that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians, as well as the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. The book’s importance to biblical scholars is immeasurable. The pages are made of vellum parchment, or calfskin. The work is written in scriptio continua—without spaces between words. In the ancient Greek world, reading continuous text on a page was more like reading a musical score today. The reader would memorize the text and use the pages as a guide while reading aloud to an audience. Not until the 10th century C.E. would spaces between words become the norm [emphasis added].

The text was written by three or four different scribes and annotated through the centuries by no less than nine correctors. [the original text we have was not without error]
A Newsweek article from 2014 provides some additional context:

…a sentence like weshouldgoeatmom could be interpreted as “We should go eat, Mom,” or “We should go eat Mom.” Sentences can have different meaning depending on where the spaces are placed. For example, godisnowhere could be “God is now here” or “God is nowhere.”

https://www.newsweek.com/2015/01/02/thats-not-what-bible-says-294018.html

Does this mean I do not accept the Truth of Scripture? No. I believe that the Bible is True; but not necessarily factual. I’m inclined to believe that Scripture is mostly metaphor. A metaphor can be just as truth-filled as the events we witness with our eyes.
The ‘youngest’ book of the Hebrew Scriptures, Malachi, takes place in 430 BCE; the ‘youngest’ book of the New Testament is the Book of the Revelation of John, written in 95 AD; however, the earliest copy of ‘the Bible’ available to us was compiled in 330-360 AD.
There were 430 years of Silence; no Prophetic revelations between the Old and New Testaments. To put this in contemporary American terms, the time of Silence of the Creator would go back to thirty years before the Pilgrims landed in 1620.
Except for the Prophet Mohammed, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), there have been no Prophetic utterances for the Christian or the Jew, for 2,000 years.
I think the Creator gave up on His attempt to train humans, by words, to become Decent Human Beings.

The Creator of the Universe created One Cell and implanted the Cell into the womb of a teenaged girl. The boy who was conceived lived in a small village, grew up to be a carpenter, and became an itinerant preacher for three years in Galilee and Judea. He is said to have healed many, performed miracles, and was killed by Roman soldiers to placate the ‘religious right’ of His day. Three days after his being entombed in a cave, He left the cave and wandered among the living, walking through walls, for a period of weeks. He said that we could do this, also.

Jesus is the Center of Scripture.
He still heals, and still works miracles; but not ‘on command’.

After 46 years of this life called Faith, I have come to the conclusion that because the Creator entered time and space as the man Jesus, that Believers conclude that the Creator is like mankind. A cosmic misunderstanding.

I’m inclined to believe that mankind is something akin to a ‘pet’ of the Creator. A ‘pet’ with a streak of viciousness that will destroy a quarter of a million people with the push of a few buttons—simply to prove a point. The ‘point’ being that our soldiers are more valuable than foreign civilians [see my previous post].
A ‘pet’ who refuses to become housebroken and destroys the ‘house’ in which he lives, just for the hell of it. A pet whose excrement gets dumped into his drinking water.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/12/trump-expected-to-roll-back-obama-era-water-regulations.html

An adult ‘pet’ who isn’t nearly as smart as the children of the world, who by the millions, stage protests so that these adult ‘pets’ without empathy, might become as intelligent as children, and take responsibility for our actions in destroying this world we were supposed to nurture.
People ask, ‘if there is a God who loves us, why doesn’t He stop the wars and the pain?’

He doesn’t stop the wars because He NEVER starts them. It is OUR responsibility.

Lord, in Your Mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Enough of that.

 

  • Illustration Tip #23: Layering

I consider the psd file to be an indispensable tool for digital image creation; the psd file allows for the creation of multiple transparent layers. There are a number of programs that work with the psd file; while I use some Adobe Photoshop filters, I do very little work with Photoshop. I use two pieces of software from when dinosaurs ruled the earth, that continue to work with Windows 10 [I’m not sure they want that known]. Same program, different versions, and different memory requirements. Since my drafting work frequently uses a 24in X 36in, 200dpi work surface, I use the older version, which requires a lesser amount of RAM. GIMP [ https://docs.gimp.org/2.10/en ] is a modern version of my dinosaur software. GIMP can operate with psd files.

The Doctor Who image above and below, has 12 layers, shown above.

The components above are shown in back-to-front order; and are the layers of the resultant image. The final psd file has layers that are invisible/unused [two sets of fonts I decided not to use]. The original psd file had several additional layers that were merged-down to the layer below. The rocks of Layer 2 were composed from 3-5 merged layers. The TARDIS [Layer 4] and the Dalek [Layer 3] are sandwiched between Layer 2 and Layer 5.


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