Posts Tagged ‘pain’

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 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 204: Guardians

December 13, 2019

On the left side of the page are four career foreign service employees of the State Department. Four of the people who exposed the U.S. involvement with the government of the Ukraine, and the 45th President of the United States, who has become the fourth President to be Impeached by the House of Representatives. Three of these people are immigrants.

On the right side of the pages is Greta Thunberg, the teenaged Climate Change Activist who has sailed the Atlantic Ocean, by herself, twice. She has become an icon for people across the world, who are under the age of 40. A symbol that is being ignored by our present Administration, who has a bizarre investment in the complete ignorance of factual evidence regarding Climate Change. Ms. Thunberg has been declared by Time Magazine as Person of the Year. She was also expected to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The award would have capped an already extraordinary year, in which Thunberg evolved from a student sitting outside the Swedish parliament, all by herself, to become the leader of a global youth movement, inspiring millions of schoolchildren around the world to join her in calling for greater action on climate change.
“How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she told world leaders in a blistering speech at the United Nations last September.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/why-didnt-greta-thunberg-win-the-nobel-peace-prize/2019/10/11/e84e6efc-eba4-11e9-9306-47cb0324fd44_story.html

Apparently jealous of this 16-year-old girl’s placement on the cover of Time Magazine, the 45th President of the United States has been insulting her by way of his overworked Twitter account. This is the nature of the man currently sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

The most powerful man in the world, insulting a teenager, because of jealousy.

The middle section in the image above contains the last paragraph in the President’s Articles of Impeachment.

I’ve been apolitical for most of my life. Meaning, I’ve voted in most of the elections over the last fifty years; voting for candidates based on the information I’ve heard from friends and those I came to respect. I’ve read the voter’s pamphlets. Having worked for the City of Portland, I’ve become fluent in ‘bureaucrat’ as a form of language. Generally, I was always ‘busy’, when it came to the subject of politics.

My life has changed; somewhat unexpectedly. At present, ‘busy’ isn’t a word I can use to define my life. While working on my latest book for the last two years, an illustrated version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Scandal in Bohemia, I’ve been listening to commentary on the Scandal in Washington DC.

I’m currently volunteering with a Citizenship/English as a Learned Language program for Green Card holders seeking Naturalization as US Citizens. People who have prepared for Naturalization appear to be far more knowledgeable regarding US history and Civics than most high school students [Who wrote the Federalist Papers? The Federalist Papers were the foundation of the US Constitution]. Every week I am reminded of my own family history. My mother and her sisters were born in Norway. Early in the 1920s, my grandfather and his brother emigrated from Norway to the US. There was no work for them in their part of the world, partially due to a famine; they came to the US because they had an uncle who had emigrated to Oregon years earlier and had built a construction business. My grandfather and his brother did not know English; but they new how to work with wood. After a few years [?], they had the money to send to my grandmother and her daughters, so they could come to the United States.

Immigrant Eyes

Guy Clark/Willie Nelson

Oh, Ellis Island was swarming, Like a scene from a costume ball
Decked out in the colors of Europe, And on fire with the hope of it all
There my father’s own father stood huddled, With the tired and hungry and scared
Turn of the century pilgrims. Bound by the dream that they shared
They were standing in line just like cattle, Poked and sorted and shoved
Some were one desk away from sweet freedom, Some were torn from someone they love
Through this sprawling Tower of Babel, Came a young man, confused and alone
Determined and bound for America, And carrying all that he owned

Sometimes when I looked in my grandfather’s immigrant eyes
I saw that day reflected and I couldn’t hold my feelings inside
I saw ‘started with nothing and working hard all of his life
“So don’t take it for granted,” said grandfather’s immigrant eyes

He would rock and stare out the window, But his eyes are still just as clear
As the day he sailed through the Harbor, And come ashore on that island of tears
My grandfather’s days were numbered, But I won’t let his memory die
Cause he gave me the gift of this country, And the look in his immigrant eyes

Sometimes when I looked in my grandfather’s immigrant eyes
I saw that day reflected and couldn’t hold my feelings inside
I saw started with nothing and working hard all of his life’
“So don’t take it for granted,” said grandfather’s immigrant eyes
“Don’t take it for granted,” said grandfather’s immigrant eyes’

By the time I was a teenager, I occasionally helped my Great Uncle, with construction projects; I remember helping him hang sheetrock. Probably the only time I enjoyed working with sheetrock. At the time, it never would have occurred to me that this man had come to this country ‘with nothing’ more than a couple of suitcases. He probably had worked hard all of his life, and became the Provider for his brother’s family, when his brother was severely injured in a construction accident. My grandfather lived most of his life in a State Hospital.

My ‘Grandfather’ went Home a over 30 years ago. I still miss him. I will see him again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 199: Time and Space, Part Two

September 8, 2019

I spend a lot of time [perhaps too much?] being at least peripherally aware of the current events of the world; and the mess that the American Government has become. Including the madness of [would be] king Donald… I want to state, for the record, that using Nukes for any purpose is truly Madness; especially for the inane purpose of dissipating hurricanes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What angers me most is our nation’s duplicity in believing that America is a godly nation; and our incredible short-term memory when it comes to the decisions that have driven the American Story.
I am a man of Faith. I did not pursue Faith; it ‘hit me upside the head’ in my third year of college. I can’t say that I was raised as an atheist—the concept of ‘god’ was associated with the ‘godandcountry’ patriotism of the American Legion—that which served as ‘church’ for my parents. Forty-six years later, Faith is what defines my life; Faith drives all of my decision-making.

I think that the one thing that the American Church does, that annoys me the most, is to express the idea that belief in [the Christian] God somehow makes a person ‘special’. In the Book of Hebrews [written in Greek] one finds the text, translated literally:

Thou didst make him some little less than messengers, with glory and honour Thou didst crown him, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands and placed everything under his feet. When God subjected all things to him, He left nothing outside of his control. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him…

A lot of the translations use the word, “angels” instead of “messengers”. Hollywood has messed with the concept of “angels”—I’m not sure that 21st Century ‘pilgrims’ [like myself] truly understand the nature of an angel. There are a number of Hebrew words that are translated in English as “angel”. In context, “angels” do the work of communicating with humans.
The text goes on to say that Jesus, Himself, was also a little less than messengers. “A little less than the angels” may not have the same ‘special-ness” attributed to the human race and the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up [aka ‘sin’]. After all, we humans destroy entire cities to make a point.

Truman apparently felt that incinerating hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians—men, women and children—was ‘better’ than letting American soldiers die by attacking the Home Island of Japan. Roosevelt imprisoned Japanese-American citizens here in America based on where their parents were born. There were no Germans imprisoned in Concentration Camps, here in America.

Humans are able to make the distinctions between ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people based on features of humanity that are entirely beyond our control. Soldiers today return home with PTSD, often resulting from the horrible things that they have been ordered to do, in the name of National Honor. What honor exists in destroying a child out of fear that she may be carrying an IED?

My immigrant family members came here from Scandinavia; where the ultraviolet rays of the Sun do not require the human body to create additional Melanin to protect the skin. The ultraviolet rays of the Sun are the most harmful in the Equatorial regions; the Creator enabled the human body to produce Melanin as needed for skin protection. This is why pink-skinned people pay money to turn their skin brown, in order to sunbathe; and yet they treat people with naturally brown skin as being lesser in value. Currently, the Government of the United States treats children that come from places the President has called “shithole countries” as criminals, locking them away in cages. The President now wants these children locked up for an indefinite period of time; causing the United States to truly be a shithole country… the only ‘developed’ country in the world that publicly locks up children for the ‘crime’ of being born. And the American people, with the exception of a few brave souls, does nothing to stop this from happening.

I, too, have my own excuses for not forcing change.

Today we use words that were not part of the vocabulary when dinosaurs ruled the earth before the invention of Social Media; and words that were not used in ‘polite society’. For the President of the United States to use language in his speeches that must be censored on television by FCC regulations was unheard of. The biggest controversy over the ‘Nixon tapes’, in the Watergate era, was not that the President authorized the break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters; the biggest shock to American society was the profanity he regularly used while in the Oval Office. A type of language that offended ‘polite sensibilities’—the language used [in the thinking of the time] by people of low moral character.

What is staggering to me today, is that the Evangelical Church in America is willing to accept with little criticism, a President’s language in campaign rallies that matches the language Nixon only used in private. Having not been raised in a church environment, hearing speeches/sermons on a monthly if not weekly basis, that the ‘moral decay of America’, was evidenced by celebrities who occasionally ‘cussed’ on camera; or by celebrities who ‘cheated’ on their spouses; the Evangelical Church’s acceptance of the ‘Porn Star President’ puts my brain on ‘TILT’. [BTW, one of the leading media outlets in 2018 discovered that Donald J. Trump has a cameo in 3 porn films from the 90s; another first for an American President]. He is also one of the most investigated Presidents of our American history, suspected of criminal activity:

https://publicintegrity.org/federal-politics/elections/presidential-profiles-2020/donald-trump-maga-orlando-president/

Consequently, I have had to come to new understandings of language, when referring to the Eternal; the Creator of all that exists in the Universe. Most of the language of the Church I find to be inadequate.
Human beings are selfish, hateful people with the possibility of living more in touch with those who are downtrodden; and more in touch with the world we were given stewardship over. I’m not an expert, but I can’t think of many species on Earth that devour each other with such abandon as human beings.

I cannot think of any reason why the Creator of the entire Universe should pay any attention to humans at all; and yet, the Creator of the Universe entered Time and Space in the form of One created cell, implanted in the womb of a teen-aged girl. The boy that was born lived among us—we have very few accounts of His life before His thirties, when He gave up carpentry and became an itinerant preacher and Healer.
Having pissed off the Conservative religious leaders of His day, by teaching and by healing ‘without a permit’, He was arrested and executed as a criminal, by the most offensive method of His day. He died and was buried in a tomb, guarded by professional soldiers. Three days later, He walked out of the tomb, and for the months that followed, entered and left buildings without using the door… He said that Death could not hold us, either.

We are not special. We are the insects that live under rocks, in terms of the entire Universe; somehow, we are Loved with Abandon. The Creator of the Universe came to live with us under our rock; and our ancestors killed Him. Yet, we are still loved.

Jesus never said a word about entering time and space in order to save mankind from our Human Propensity to F*ck things Up [aka ‘sin’]. Jesus taught a new way to live.

 

Enough of that.

Advertising moment:

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World is an electric look at Native American influence in popular music, going deep into the Indigenous foundations of blues, rock, and jazz. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/rumble/

We live in a three-dimensional world [four, if one counts time]; and yet we only have two-dimensional tools for creating ideas [holograms work in movies, but it’s mostly cgi]. In high school, my drafting teacher would have us work on Technical Illustration during Spring term. I fell in love with the concept of emulating three-dimensional objects with two-dimensional media; and expected to be a Technical Illustrator for the rest of my life. Didn’t happen as planned…

For us to imagine new ways of understanding life and Creation, we need a different ‘vocabulary’ with which to describe our observations. This happens continually in the sciences, in the field of Physics. Physicists now accept the concept/fact that light operates as both a particle and a wave—two concepts that were impossible to consider before their mental ‘vocabulary’ was able to rearrange their understanding of their observations. Non-scientists experience the same sort of effect in language.

For centuries, mathematicians have understood how to locate a point in space, using the three axes within a square space [x, y, z coordinates]. Basic geometry.

It wasn’t until the launching of communication satellites around the Earth that we had a Global Positioning System; using three separate satellites to locate any point in space. The GPS project was launched by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1973 for use by the United States military and became fully operational in 1995. It was allowed for civilian use in the 1980s.

We can also locate the position of any star [largely nebulae] in the sky. The Constellations with which mankind is familiar were ‘graphic’ representations of pattern recognition. The human ability to find faces in tortillas and pancakes, the grain of wood, and the random patterns in floor coverings.

One of the shortcomings of our ‘advancement’ and ‘invention’ is that we still see the Universe from our own perspective. A tabloid in the UK seems determined to have the Earth colliding with asteroids. Nearly every day I see headlines about new Black Holes and galactic collisions that are occurring as astronomers view these events through space telescopes. The articles almost always forget to mention that these events being witnessed in our time frame actually happened millions of years ago. The light from these events is just now reaching us. Possibly habitable planets tens of light years away from us. Only, we are nowhere near being able to have humans leave our solar system, much last travel at velocity near the speed of light…

Soul Nebula

The center of the Universe is nowhere near us.

We are in a low-rent corner of the Milky Way Galaxy. One of the multitude of Galaxies in the Universe.

  • Illustration Tip #22:

Next year, I think I will simply skip August; and go from July to September.

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 198: Time and Space

August 9, 2019

1] No, Star Fleet has not left its mark on Mars; it probably is just a sand dune.
2] Yes, The Doctor and the Martian Warriors are fictional.
3] Yes, this is actually Mars; viewed by the Rovers sent to Mars. The scale is inaccurate.
4] Yes, it is ‘photoshopped’ without assistance from Adobe…

When I was young, reading John Carter of Mars, Tom Corbett and the Space Cadets; Robert A. Heinlein, and dozens of others, I never imagined that I would actually have photographs of Mars available to me. Sending tourists to Mars? Well, I guess that’s what Billionaires do…I’d rather they supported the battle against Climate Change, cleaning up the oceans, etc. Mars is not our Planet B.

“Milky Way is warped and twisted…”

I know that Earth is warped and twisted. I see this every day.

Imagine, if you will, that the Universe had a Beginning.
I realize that there are physicists who have theorized that we are in a Universe that expands/contracts/repeats. This is a theory that may, or may not, ever be proven. Now there is a dispute about the age of the Universe. Gravity exists, no one can prove how or why—physicists continue to come up with possible explanations; however, gravity appears to be one of the Laws of Science/Laws of the Universe. Gravity affects space, gravity affects light and gravity affects time.

Imagine a Creator who is so vast in Existence, that the Universe is, in some respects, small. To an architect—the designer of a huge skyscraper—that skyscraper is in some sense, small; every element of the skyscraper’s construction is contained within the architect’s mind. It isn’t a question of distance, it is a question of volume and content. The Creator of the Universe is constantly aware of all that happens within the Universe, because the Creator is outside our ideas of Time and Space. A Creator with an Infinite Mind.

I think humanity has an innate belief in the existence of “the Other”. There is so much in life that is inexplicable—life sometimes makes no sense when we think it should. What one does with this sense of the “Other” is based on society, culture, sub-culture, family, education. It is common in America today, to find people who been ‘educated-out’ of this sense of ‘the Other’—the idea is viewed as superstition, or “things people believe that no one believes anymore,’ to paraphrase someone I don’t recall.

I had a brief online discussion recently, where I received the following comment,

“I’m a firm believer in a God or supreme being or whatever you choose to call it. The evidence is all around us. Quantum Physics proves there is something more powerful than anything we can imagine out there controlling everything.
“My problem with religions is that they all preach peace, but they all kill people if they don’t believe the way they each want you to believe.”

There are many in the Church whose idea of God is much like the concept of a local god whose image rests on an end table shrine. Scripture’s overt lack of information about the nature of the Universe leads these people to only a grudging acceptance of current scientific views of the Universe. This, in spite of the fact that in the thirteenth century, the Jewish scholar Nahmanides quoted a commentary on Genesis written 600 years before him, noting that prior to the existence of the universe, time did not exist; he goes on to describe the Big Bang and the Expanding Universe. Of course, I did not learn this information in the Church. I learned this from the writings of a physicist who understands that there IS a Creator; and that the Creator wants to communicate with the creatures that have been made.

As Jesus contended with the Religious Right of His day, today we have a Religious Right that focuses attention on the behavior of those in, and out of, the Church. Much of one’s acceptance is based on compliance with a set of behaviors.

There are far too many evangelical preachers who preach a concept they call ‘Holiness’ as a basis for salvation [one is ‘saved’ by Jesus’ death on the Cross; however, behavior determines the validity of the claim of salvation]. This term is derived from Scripture but goes far beyond what Scripture teaches. These same preachers demand from their congregations, and demand from their hormonal teenagers, a level of scrupulous personal behavior that somehow can be totally ignored when it comes to the President of the United States; a man whose behavior is the polar opposite of the concept of Holiness.

To paraphrase Jesus: it profits the Church nothing to give its soul for the whole world…but for Conservative Judges?

The Creator of the Universe did not enter Time and Space in the form of a single cell, implanted in the womb of teenager; so that He could, by dying on a Cross, save you from your sins [that which I call, the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up]. The Creator entered Time and Space so that you could learn how to live.

Preachers paint a picture of our entrance into Eternity as something like being presented to a Judge. The three spikes that affixed Jesus to the Cross outweigh, on the Divine Scale of Justice, all of our sin. The problem with the analogy is that each of us have been known by our Creator since our birth [possibly earlier]; all of our behavior is already Known. At the end of our life on Earth, I believe we will appear before the Creator of the Universe; and will have to honestly answer to ourselves:

How Did I Really Live?
What was in my heart/my Soul?
The Creator already knows the answer to these questions.

The Conservative Evangelical Church believes that Jesus died for our sins, because our sin is so egregious that we cannot stand before the God who demands Holiness, Righteousness and Truth; and that only a righteous blood sacrifice of God’s Only Son can redeem us. This idea comes with a question that I’ve never heard in a large variety of churches:

The Eternal saying, “Oh MY SELF! How could he possibly make such a stupid decision?!!”

This question can only be asked by a local god who is not Omniscient—all knowing; one of the character qualities ascribed by the Church, to God. The Omni [All]-words: Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent.
An Omniscient Creator already knows the answer, because the Creator is outside of Time. The answer is known before we even perform the answer.

Back to Mars…

If there are Martian Warriors, if there is, or ever is a Star Fleet, if The Doctor is more than a fictional character; if there is a Creator who entered Time and Space two millennia ago, to teach us how to live; then, the Truths that apply on Earth apply throughout the Universe. Because those Truths are not the ideas of religion; but are ‘laws of the entire Universe’. The sentient beings on other worlds, in other galaxies as well as our own, will all have their own “Jesus” story; or they will not need a “Jesus” story because they are not infected with the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up.

“If only.” Two words, taken together, form one of humanity’s most significant thoughts.
“If only I’d done that instead of this.”
“If only I had turned left instead of right.”
“If only I had said, No! instead of yes.”
“If only I had voted in the 2016 Presidential election.”
The list is almost endless [I voted for Bernie].

Once again, I am living with consequences of my actions. Once I was general contractor, the CEO of a corporation [a really small corporation]. I never expected, at that point, to be something other than a contractor. When the economy tanked, I started working for local government. When my bodily damage caught up with me, and I left my job at the City, I did construction again, briefly, on several occasions. My neuropathy eventually showed me the foolishness of continuing to work with sharp things—I can injure myself without knowing it. I’ve yet to really make the decision to stop being a contractor. I have a shop full of stuff I’m unlikely to use again. I struggle with the thought of parting with the stuff. I do far better with beginnings than endings.

If only Exxon had shared their report on climate change, in 1977…would we have done any more with the knowledge than we [collective] are doing today? Greed and self-interest [the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up] have been with us as long as humans have roamed the world.

Billionaires will still be planning visits to Mars.

 

Enough of that.

 

  • Illustration Tip #21: Layers

On Wednesday, August 7th, a number of brown-skinned parents in Mississippi sent their children to school, while P45 was in Air Force One, soon to land in El Paso, Texas. P45 was supposedly making a ‘condolence call’ in El Paso, because of the Mass Shooting the previous weekend; where 22 were killed, and dozens injured. P45 was actually making a ‘rally stop’ that will be used in an upcoming campaign video. While P45 was doing his thing in El Paso, ICE officers in Mississippi rounded up 600+ brown-skinned workers at chicken plants; providing the children of those parents with no provision for being picked up from school or day care. Thankfully, Grace-filled people in Mississippi made sure the children were safe and cared for.

These children may never go to bed, feeling safe in their parents’ care, again.

No owners or pink-skinned employees of the chicken plants were arrested.

I am First Generation; my mother and her sisters were born in Norway, they and their mother emigrated here in the mid-1920’s. In these times, my heritage has become very much a part of my thinking. Norwegians do not require much melanin in their skin…

The 600+ people in Mississippi were processing chicken that we pink-skinned people have probably eaten. The owners were asking ICE ‘who is going to prepare the chicken??!!”
Many of the 600+ people in Mississippi were people of faith. They came to America in hopes of being free from the abuses that are outlined in the Declaration of Independence.

I believe they were asking their Creator why this was happening. I believe that these people were never out of their Creator’s care; I do not believe that we are protected from the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up.

Shit happens.

Brown skin protects the body from sunburn. Pink-skinned people who abuse the rights of brown-skinned people, line up at shops and gymnasiums to get brown-skin. Lord Have Mercy.

Layers

While it is not necessary for you to think in terms of transparent layers for digital illustration, it makes digital illustration much easier to design and create. The key to transparent layers is the .psd file. The ones and zeroes in this file format allow for the creation of transparent layers. While a .psd file is commonly called a ‘photoshop file’ its use is not limited to Adobe products. GIMP [https://www.gimp.org] will allow you to use psd files. I use very old versions of PaintShopPro [very similar to GIMP], from back when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It’s the file format; not the computer or the program the computer uses as an interface.

I’ve been sitting on the first part of this essay for several days, maybe a week, trying to figure out what sort of “Illustrator Tip” to write. These essays aren’t planned; they happen largely by circumstance. Much of my work is by circumstance.

She is called Virgin of Mercy, or Madonna with Protective Cloak:

The Virgin of Mercy is a subject in Christian art, showing a group of people sheltering for protection under the outspread cloak, or pallium, of the Virgin Mary. It was especially popular in Italy from the 13th to 16th centuries, often as a specialised form of votive portrait, and is also found in other countries and later art, especially Catalonia and Latin America.

The image is made up of 15 final layers. There were five or ten more layers that I merged to a specific category of image, for my own ease of use.

The Madonna comes with the black background and the grey floor. I copied and pasted the background behind the Statue of Liberty. The reflections are two separate layers—copies of the statues—at 34% transparency.

I have copied part of the Madonna’s cloak, and turned it coppery green for the Lady in the Harbor. There are additional cloak-parts underneath the girl in pink. The people under the Lady’s cloak are copied from both sides of the Madonna’s cloak.

The bottom layer is black; the grey floor is next.

I have not found a fixed limit for layers; the reality is that each layer enlarges the size of the total image. This image, with its layers is about 387,000Kb [377Mb] in size; reduced in size for online use.

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 197: Waiting for the world to change

July 22, 2019

At this moment, Waiting on the World to Change is playing on my computer. A version of the song was attached to the Presidential Election Campaign of 2008; containing quotations from Dr. King. The quotation seems to have originated with Theodore Parker (1810-1860) who used more words than Dr. King.
“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice.”

I have trouble seeing that Arc bending toward Justice in these times.

The Squad

For the next year, the President of the United States will blame all of America’s problems on these four women. Women who are Members of Congress, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution the President probably has never read. Three of these women were born in the United States; Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is a Naturalized American Citizen, born in the country of Somalia, brought to America as a refugee. For the next year, at every rally he attends, the President will encourage a chant of “Send Them Home” because the mostly-white audiences who attend his rallies want to Make America White Again.

In 1995, Aaron Sorkin created a film called, “The American President”. Twenty-four years ago, Sorkin wrote about today’s political issues. In this clip, Bob Rumson, is running for President, opposed to the sitting President, Andrew Shepherd…

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

“I’ve known Bob Rumson for years, and I’ve been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn’t get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President’s girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she’s to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore…”

The question is whether or not you, as an American voter, will allow him to continue with his speeches of racial hatred.

This week, Robert Mueller will appear before Congress and will clarify the results of his two-year investigation into the means by which the Russian government interfered with the 2016 Election; and how the President made significant efforts to obstruct justice. The information is clearly spelled out in the Mueller Report; Americans are unwilling to read 400+ page reports. The Attorney General lied in his summary of the Mueller Report. President Trump was not at all exonerated by the investigation. When Donald J. Trump is replaced by the winner of the 2020 Election, he will go to jail.

 

Enough of that.

 

NGC 972 resides in the constellation Aries, approximately 50 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy is about 70,000 light-years across. Bright, colorful pockets of star formation can be seen in the new Hubble image amid dark, tangled streams of cosmic dust.
The orange-pink glow is created as hydrogen reacts to the intense light streaming outwards from nearby proto-stars. The presence of huge star-forming regions in NGC 972, and the asymmetry of its spiral arms are probably the result of a merger with a gas-rich companion galaxy.

http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/hubble-dusty-star-forming-galaxy-ngc-972-07339.html

Spiral Galaxy NGC 972

The light that comprises this Hubble image left that galaxy 50 million years ago. The light is ‘only’ reaching the Hubble Space Telescope at this time.

The Eocene Epoch, lasting from 56 to 33.9 million years ago, is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era.

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

Mesopotamia was the first civilization to emerge in human history. The area was set between Tigris and Euphrates rivers and lies between Asian Minor and the Persian Gulf. The region is known for its fertile agricultural land. The civilization dates back to 10,000 BC when people around the area found the concept of agriculture and began domesticating animals.

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-of-the-world-s-oldest-civilizations.html

50 million years ago, the Earth was not all that far past the ‘formless and void’ state described in the Book of Genesis. Since Astronomical time is very large, the previous sentence might be very inaccurate. Scripture really isn’t written with Astronomical time in mind.
Forests existed during the Eocene Epoch; as well as bushes, small mammals and lots of fish. Continental Drift was occurring; Australia and a forested Antarctica were connected together; the northern super-continent of Laurasia began to fragment, as Europe, Greenland and North America drifted apart.
Currently, the earliest fossils of Neanderthals in Europe are dated between 450,000 and 430,000 years ago. Approximately 49,550,000 years after the light from NGC972 left the Aries constellation, there would have been a proto-human of some sort who could look up in the night sky…and still not see NGC972, because Newton wouldn’t invent his refracting telescope for another 419,000 years.

The Earth is VERY old; and we are VERY new.

Recently I’ve written about chronos time, the time that our clocks are made for; and Kairos time, which is the time that the Creator’s wristwatch is set for [a silly metaphor]. Somewhere between these two forms of Time, there is Astronomical Time. One of the Human Propensities to F*ck things Up is our desire to see our life as ‘right now’; and to overlook the fact that we are ‘a pebble in the ocean’ of time.

This leads me again to one of my favorite books: And Now I See by Robert Barron.

“Jesus’ opening speech in Mark’s Gospel: “repent and believe the Good News.” The word so often and so misleadingly translated as ‘repent’ is metanoiete. This Greek term is based upon two words, meta [beyond] and nous [mind or spirit], and thus, in its most basic form, it means something like, “go beyond the mind that you have.” The English word, ‘repent’ has a moralizing overtone, suggesting a change in behavior or action, whereas Jesus’ term seems to be hinting at a change at a far more fundamental of one’s being. Jesus urges his listeners to change their way of knowing, their way of perceiving and grasping reality, their perspective, their mode of seeing…”

The Creator created all that exists [an idea that cannot be proven by the Scientific Method]; the Creator is not a god who is associated only with our planet or our solar system. All life in the Universe that studies the stars has a Creation narrative. Part of me hopes that these other views of the Universe will someday become part of our human narrative. A larger part of me believes that there are, or will be beacons surrounding our Solar System, warning travelers to avoid this place—we carry a plague: the Human Propensity to F*ck things Up.

Americans are trained by a Western worldview—a way of thinking that evolves from the ancient Greeks and Romans; and has been affected by the Church—the manner in which information is considered acceptable for common teaching. A worldview that contradicts those who refuse to listen to what the Church teaches about ‘Science’. Thus, we get a very convoluted and confusing view of how Life operates.

“CHANGE YOUR LENSES, please. Okay, maybe you can’t simply change lenses right now, but would you at least notice the lenses you are currently wearing? If you are like, say, 99.9 percent of us in the U.S., you have been influenced by a very particular set of perspectives that interpret life from an Enlightenment-bound Western worldview. This particular influence [separates] the realm of the abstract (spirit, soul, mind) [from] the concrete realm (earth, body, material)…
“In dualistic thinking, we are no longer an existing whole…
“* Most of the rest of the world does not understand life through a Western worldview. We in the West are the anomaly.
* Jesus was not an Enlightenment-bound Western thinker. He thought more like today’s pre-modern Indigenous people.
* Not one writer of the scriptures saw life through a Western lens.
“Indigenous Peoples of the world have an advantage over Western thinkers in that there is still enough pre-modern worldview intact among North American and other Indigenous people to relate to the pre-modern Jesus and the pre-modern scriptures. They can bring new kinds of hope to today’s earth climate crisis, if we allow it.
“Jesus understood humanity’s relationship with the earth differently than we do. He spoke to the wind, to the water, and to trees; closely observed the habits of birds, flowers, and animals; and called his disciples to model their lives after what they saw in nature.
“The predominant themes and subject matter of Jesus’ stories were natural, such as fish, flowers, birds, sheep, oxen, foxes, earth, trees, seeds, harvests, and water. There were many mechanical inventions during Jesus’ time, but the record reflects he paid little attention to them. His was a world of keen observation, where God was wondrously alive and at work in creation.
“In Jesus’ worldview, He laid to waste the fallacies of Platonic dualism that exist in our modern era and that presume the earth or the body or anything earthly is less spiritual than the mind, the spirit, or things more abstract. To Jesus, as it should be to us, the earth is wholly spiritual, as are our bodies.
“If we remove the influence of Platonic dualism from our worldviews, we will find it difficult to view human beings as being over all other parts of creation. Instead of a relationship where nature is below us, we should be stewarding with, or co-sustaining, all creation…”

The Fullness Thereof by Randy Woodley Sojourners, May 2019

If you can only see Jesus through a First Century lens, you may not understand your faith. In my experience, large portions of the Church can only understand Jesus through a First Century lens.

 

Enough of that.

 

  • Illustration Tip #20: changing the way you think

I spent many of my ‘years of my thirties’ listening to training on tapes, and reading books on how I could improve my life by changing the way I think. The American educational system focuses a student’s attention on the passing of a test; rather than understanding how the question on the test applies to a larger life situation. The memorizing of dates, but not focusing attention on how an event in a particular year applies to a larger historical theme.

The way that you think is the most important factor in your success as an illustrator.

“May I impress upon every reader that illustration is life as you perceive and interpret it. That is your heritage as an artist and is the quality that will be most sought for in your work. Try never to lose it or subordinate it to the personality of another. As far as you and your work are concerned, life is line, tone, color and design–plus your feelings about it.”

Andrew Loomis, Creative Illustration

To be candid, I have acquired far more business debt, as an illustrator, than I have, income. Most of my income comes from sources other than illustration. At the same time, I am more pleased with the quality of my work now than at any other time in my career. However, the work does not seem to sell. Visual imagery, and the expectations regarding imagery change with every new video game; every new movie. My illustration is self-expression; that concept found in the quotation above.

Sales of illustrations should never be the means by which you decide what you will do as an illustrator. If you get continual feedback that your illustrations suck, and they don’t sell, you might want to find an editor or agent who will give you an honest appraisal.

I patterned my illustrations after the work of Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, and Maxfield Parrish, to name a few. Also, the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This does not mean that I compare myself with their expertise; their paintings inspire my illustrations. I’ve been doing this work for something like thirty years; I don’t see a reason to change what I do. I also realize that there are fewer chapters ahead that there have been behind.

Every day I deal with my progressively degenerative neurological condition. Every day, creating an illustration is painful, in a progressive degree. Giving up on my illustration feels as though it would shut off part of my soul. So, I continue. I refuse to be conquered by neurological sensations.

Francis Parkman Jr. (September 16, 1823 – November 8, 1893) was the patriarch of the Flores-Parkman family, and an American historian, best known as author of The Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain Life and his monumental seven-volume France and England in North America. These works are still valued as historical sources and as literature.
Parkman’s accomplishments are all the more impressive in light of the fact that he suffered from a debilitating neurological illness, which plagued him his entire life, and which was never properly diagnosed. He had long periods where he was unable to walk. He suffered debilitating headaches. He was often unable to walk, and for long periods he was effectively blind, being unable to see but the slightest amount of light. Much of his research involved having people read documents to him, and much of his writing was written in the dark or dictated to others.

Much of life happens in spite of circumstances, rather than because of circumstances. Accomplished people accomplish because they start their days incredibly early and practice their art instead of doing the things others do. These behaviors do not make people better at life; the discipline moves people toward goals others do not aim for. Most of the world’s accomplishments do not happen because of luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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