Posts Tagged ‘surviving’

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 229: Easter Has Passed Over Us—So, Now What?

April 25, 2021

The Easter eggs have been found, and the chocolate bunnies have been eaten.
What’s next? In the Church calendar, Pentecost [May 23rd] is next, followed by Ordinary Time [my life seems to take place mostly in Ordinary Time].

Regarding the above images, Rubens gets the award for accuracy—Jesus was most likely naked when He came out of the tomb—His burial cloths Left Behind. Dürer gets the prize for most literal—Mary Magdalene was said to have thought the Resurrected Jesus was the gardener— Dürer gives Jesus a shovel. The ivory carving is probably the oldest; the one from the Byzantine School probably next oldest. The website that had the image on the far left seems to have misplaced its name and date.

You’re asking, ‘why does any of this matter?’

This morning I saw a reader board at a church:

“JESUS IS ALIVE AND HE IS LOOKING FOR SINNERS”

Maybe I’ve watched too many Westerns—to me the above phrase reminds me of ‘Wyatt Earp coming to clean up Dodge City’…

Jesus never went looking for sinners. Jesus went looking for those who had lost their way. When I was first introduced to Faith, in my twenties, I hadn’t lost my way; I didn’t even know a way existed.

The White Evangelical Church [a term of my preference] would say that Jesus’ Crucifixion means that your sins can be forgiven, and that the point of Jesus’ Resurrection is that Christians will be Resurrected, also.

A problem: This form of theology accepts the idea that 3/4 of all the people that have ever existed, are now burning in Hell; and further accepts the notion that Creator intended for this to happen when humankind was first Created; and that Creator is at perfect ease over the fact that 3/4 of all the humans who have existed burn in Hell. [It is possible that 3/4 is a low number]

And we Americans [rightly] demand that mass murder not occur on our streets and in our schools. If we are irate at wrongful death, why isn’t Creator angry about these wrongful deaths?

The White Evangelical Church misunderstands the reason Jesus was born.

=Ф=

Back When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, my sons were in Boy Scouts; during the summer there were Summer Camp events [including a lot of rain, here in Portland]. Once everyone was in their tents for the night, I would wander to the nearby lake, lie down on the dock and look up into the night sky. It never occurred to me to envision the ‘lights in the sky’ to be at the outer perimeter of our solar system, but apparently that is what a lot of people in America [the only country I’ve lived in] seem to think.

NGC 4380 is a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Virgo. 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. The image below could be a photo of the ‘humans’ [bipedal is a presumption on our part] living on some planet in the night sky. In the movie, “The Arrival” most weren’t ready to attribute to these creatures the same ‘dignity’ we ascribe to humans [actually, perhaps that was the problem—they did not ascribe the qualities of White Privilege to these ‘aliens’ in the same way brown-skinned humans are treated].

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 and Easter seasons, then you probably don’t understand your faith.

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.

The Easter story takes place around 33 years after the story of the baby in the manger. The story of what happened between the baby in the manger and the day Jesus left his inherited [assumption] carpentry shop doesn’t get told at all, in the New Testament canon. There are a lot of religious texts that didn’t ‘make the cut’ in the Third Century, when Bishops voted as to what would make up that which we know as the Bible.

Jesus’ death was inevitable, from the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine. Everyone knew who Jesus was; small towns lacking newspapers. When the miraculous events began, those stories of Jesus’ colorful life became even more colorful. The Conservative Religious leaders of Jesus’ time began planning to shut Jesus up. Jesus was a troublemaker.

One of my favorite non-Biblical stories is about the boy, Jesus, who would mold birds out of the clay along the river, and then send them flying.

Who gave these Bishops the authority to make these decisions? Well, of course, they gave themselves the authority.

Jacob M. Wright

“Someone asked me if I believed that stories in the Old Testament about God killing people were made up. Here’s what I believe.

“I think it was made up, but out of ancient people’s conceptualizing the world as through mythology. This is literally how the ancients found meaning in the world, through mythologizing their experiences together, and passing these stories down through oral tradition. But I believe God was being revealed through it. Because a myth does not mean that something is entirely false, but that a truth is being revealed through a story that is endowed with sacred meaning.

“So, while people are mythologizing about God destroying nations or killing this or that person, it is taking events and endowing them with cosmic/theological meaning, and while they are not literally true, they are imaginatively attempting to get at meaning in the universe and this was part of the progression towards truth.

“This is being honest about the primitive times in which these texts were written. If the world was so supernatural back then that God would literally just endow a fruit with magical knowledge that would cause the entire downfall of the species, or confuse the languages at Babel to create different cultures, or rain down fire from “heaven” (outer space?) to destroy nations, and swallow up people in the earth, and supernaturally set altars on fire, and supernaturally drown the whole world, and supernaturally fight Israel’s enemies with angels and shoot them down with lightning bolts from the heavens, and supernaturally release plagues on cities by the waving of Moses’ rod, and turn rivers to blood, and part seas for people to walk through and then crash them down on Pharaoh, then why isn’t that the world we live in today? Why was the world such a magical fantasy world 3,000 to 4,000 years ago? It wasn’t. This is mythology typical of those times.

“After we’ve come to terms with that, we can see how the mythology is getting at a truth that is leading the way to Jesus. As CS Lewis said,

“Just as, on the natural side, a long preparation culminated in God’s becoming incarnate as Man, so on the documentary side, the truth first appears in mythical form and then by a long process of condensing and focusing finally becomes incarnate as History. Just as God is none the less God by being Man, so the Myth remains myth even when it becomes Fact. The story of Christ demands from us, and repays, not only a religious and historical but also an imaginative response. Thus, the question is not one of theology alone, but of the nature of myth: This involves the belief that myth in general is not merely misunderstood history (as Euhemerus thought) nor diabolical illusion (as some of the Fathers thought) nor priestly lying (as the philosophers of the Enlightenment thought) but, at its best, a real though unfocused gleam of divine truth falling on human imagination.” – CS Lewis (Miracles, p. 161)

“Jesus is where God actually breaks into history outside of myth.”

“My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”

John Dominic Crossan

Creator is creating the entire Universe.

There is no evidence that the Universe is complete.

There are only theories.

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 228: What the heck is Holy Week?

March 27, 2021

This was my thought when, in my twenties,
I first heard of Holy Week.
Forty-eight years later, in a Pandemic, I still wonder about it.

This isn’t a painting of Jesus of Nazareth.

This is what is called an Icon [LONG before computers]. Icons began to be painted for use in the Orthodox Church, because Creator told the Hebrew people to not ‘make graven [carved] images. Being a painting, there is no engraving involved. Icons play a huge role in the Orthodox Church; they have almost no role in the Presbyterian Church [and many others].
There is an entire vocabulary involved in the creation of Icons. From this vocabulary, the Icon isn’t painted, it is ‘written’. The maker of the Icon is always left unknown, as far as history is concerned. There probably was a man who commissioned the writing of the Icon; but the writer is always named ‘Anonymous’. This Icon appears to show a Caucasian man; since “Christ Pantocrator” isn’t a painting of Jesus, his appearance does not reflect a theological statement.
Every “Christ Pantocrator” Icon that has been written has the same elements. Many are identical, century after century.

The White Evangelical Church tends to give the impression it’s beliefs are tied directly to the Apostles, uninterrupted.

Church history is entirely about interruption.

Holy Week is about ritual. Rituals that can help people be connected with a Creator that we rarely perceive. I haven’t participated in Ritual for over a year. I’m still connected to Creator.
 Holy Week begins tomorrow [as I am writing], with Palm Sunday; and ends next Sunday with Easter.

Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for His last time there. He came in riding on a borrowed donkey as prophesied [following a passage of Scripture from the Older Testament]. There were people who were cheering Him on, who threw palm branches on the road.
Next Thursday [as I am writing], is called Maundy Thursday:

Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter.
It commemorates the Washing of the Feet (Maundy) and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, as described in the canonical gospels.[1]
It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday (Spy Wednesday) and followed by Good Friday.[2] “Maundy” comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words “I give you a new commandment.”[3]               Wikipedia
A new command I give unto you: that you love one another. As I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are My Disciples, if there shall be love among you; one towards another.”

As this last Election Cycle has shown, the Church doesn’t do a very good job with this Command.
After Jesus and His disciples finished their Passover meal, Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, heads to the Chief Priests in order to betray Jesus. Judas ate with Jesus. The Religious leaders of the day knew of Jesus, but lacking the Internet, they did not know how Jesus looked. Having the Internet, neither do we. Judas was paid to point out Jesus to the Roman cops, so that Jesus could be arrested.
Good Friday is the day upon which Jesus was tortured, tried, tried again, tortured some more, and finally crucified. The Gospel attributed to Matthew paints a dramatic scene:

And, from the sixth hour to the ninth hour, darkness fell over all the land. And around the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”—that is, “My God, my God, why did you forsake me?”
And some of those who were standing there, hearing this, said, “This man calls to Elijah.” And one of them immediately ran and—taking a sponge and filling it with vinegar and putting it on a rod—gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Leave off, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, gave up the spirit. And look: The veil of the sanctuary was rent in two, from top to bottom, and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split, And the tombs were opened and many bodies of those holy ones who had fallen asleep were raised; And, coming forth from the tombs, they went into the holy city after his resurrection and appeared to many. And the centurion and those guarding Jesus with him, seeing the earthquake and the things that were happening, were extremely afraid, saying, “Truly this was a god’s son.”
The New Testament – David Bentley Hart

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon that included the dead rising from their tombs and entering Jerusalem, appearing to many, once Jesus died. It would be an interesting sermon and generally is not included in the White Evangelical Church canon.
I have heard at least one sermon about the ‘veil of the Sanctuary’ being torn in two, top to bottom. This ‘veil’ was a two-layered curtain, in a very tall space [approx. 30ft], that separated The Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and even he would only enter once a year on Yom Kippur, to offer the blood of sacrifice and incense; and a rope was tied around his leg, so that if he died while encountering the Almighty, he could be pulled out; leaving the Holy of Holies secluded.
The Temple was a very tall space; they didn’t have extension ladders. Therefore, the veil was torn by Someone who was at ceiling height, and my guess is that Someone wasn’t human. The Torn Curtain meant that there is no longer a separation between Creator and Mankind. This is far more important than what the churches I’ve belonged to hardly ever [never] mentioned. This interferes with the following:
Non-believers are very familiar with John 3:16—signs with this Bible reference show up at any sporting event that has people in the grandstands. The short translation is ‘anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus is going to Hell’. This isn’t Biblical interpretation, it’s human interpretation.
People who pay a lot of attention to John 3:16 don’t talk much about John 3:17:

And whoever hears my words and does not keep them, I am not judging him, for I have come, not to judge the world, but to give life to the world.

My question is, “did Jesus fail in His mission?” Jesus came to give life to the world. He either did that, or Jesus failed. If Jesus failed, the Church has a big problem.

 Aramaic Bible in Plain English  
1 In the origin The Word had been existing and That Word had been existing with God and That Word was himself God. 2 This One himself was at the origin with God. 3 Everything was in his hand, and without him not even one thing existed of the things that existed. 4 In him was The Life and The Life is The Light of men. 5 And The Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it. 6 There was a man sent from God; his name was Yohannan [John]. 7 He came for a witness, to testify about The Light, that everyone by him would believe. 8 He was not The Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 For That One was The Light of Truth, which enlightens every person that comes into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world existed by his hand, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not…

I consider myself fortunate, in that I was raised without Ritual. I came to Faith in my third year of college, kicking and screaming. I’ve spent most of my 48 years with Jesus in the White Evangelical Church; and I have been ashamed/angered over the beliefs that have been displayed in the last five years, in the news and on Social Media.
I have not gotten past my anger.

What I have learned is that Creator is not some sort of local ‘mystic fairy’ that grants our wishes. Creator has made/is making a Universe so large that we don’t even have the language to describe it. The Universe is likely Filled with inhabited planets; and I believe that on each of those planets there will either be a ‘Jesus Story’; or that the ‘Jesus Story’ was not needed—their “Adam & Eve” did a better job of parenting.

I don’t know what to do with people who believe Creator is responsible for the evil in the world—those people who believe that the Older Testament is God’s-Truth-Written-Down seem to forget why Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden. They had learned how to tell good from evil. We humans are fully capable of doing evil on our own. We don’t need Creator’s help to do that.

Our Creator is infinite, which does not mean ‘really, really big’—Creator is outside the Universe, working within the Universe. Creator is outside of time. Creator has known all about your life from the moment the Universe was Created. The good stuff and the shitty stuff and everything in between. While it may feel like you have walked away, you haven’t. You always will be taken care of, which does not mean, being spared from shitty stuff.

This life is only the beginning of your Real life. We are souls with bodies. We are all Eternal. We will one day realize that there was a better choice to be made at a given time, but that choice never separated us from the Eternal. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding a new definition. I don’t believe, any longer, that the new definition will come from a group of believers and a pastor–all of whom are flawed. I have been through too many churches to believe that any group of people has it all together. We do well in certain areas; but not in every situation.

You are always loved by Jesus, and by your Creator. The Spirit is at hand, even when you don’t realize it.

Christ of St John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 225: A New Year in Pandemica

December 31, 2020

By Michael Gerson for The Washington Post December 24, 2020

“One of the stranger elements of the strange Nativity narrative is the way an angel addresses Mary: “You who are highly favored.” As a teen mother, pregnant before marriage and destined to give birth among barn animals, she might have been forgiven for regarding this as angelic sarcasm. Fast forward three decades, and the most favored one will see her son executed among thieves before a jeering crowd.
“The whole Christmas story is pregnant with enigma and violated expectations. The Creator pulls on a garment of blood and bone. Almighty God is somehow present in a fragile newborn. The deliverer of humankind is delivered, slimy with vernix, in a place smelling of dung. If God can come here, amid the shame and straw, he can come anywhere. If God came here, he has come everywhere.”

The dumpster fire that was 2020 will still spread into 2021. But it will get better. Fighting fires takes a long time.

If vaccination for the COVID-19 virus continues as it has so far, it is projected that it will take 10 YEARS for the entire country [only the US] to be vaccinated. “Operation Warp Speed” has produced the same sort of vaccine results that his administration has accomplished over the last four years. One might be forgiven for thinking that the Keystone Kops have been running the show. Or Larry, Moe and Curly. One doesn’t bankrupt himself five times for being skillful with deadlines or productivity.

How to end this year that has denied so much, and cost so much…

Words from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

“The “Christ Mystery” is much bigger than Christianity as an organized religion. If we don’t understand this, Christians will have little ability to make friends with, build bridges to, understand, or respect other religions or the planet. Jesus did not come to create a country club or a tribe of people who could say, “We’re in and you’re out. We’ve got the truth and you don’t.” Jesus came to reveal something that was true everywhere, for everyone, and all the time.
“Many Christians have a very limited understanding of Jesus’ historical or social message, and almost no understanding of the Cosmic Christ—even though it is taught clearly in Scripture (see John 1, Colossians 1, Ephesians 1, 1 John 1, Hebrews 1:1). Christ is often taught at the very beginning of Paul’s and other New Testament authors’ writings, yet we still missed it. But you can’t see what you were never told to look for. Once you do see the shape and meaning of this cosmic mystery of Divine Incarnation, you’ll be able to see that the Presence is everywhere—and the archetypal Jesus will not be such an anomaly, accident, or surprise.
“God is saving everything and everybody, it is all God’s emerging victory, until, as Paul says, “God will be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). If Christ is truly the “savior of the world” (see John 4:42), then God’s shape, form, meaning, and message are all far bigger than any single religion. Talking to the intellectual Athenians, Paul is wise enough to say: “God is not far from any of us. It is in him [sic] that we live and move and have our very being” (Acts 17:28).”

For me, this has been a dismal Christmas season.

Social Distancing and Shelter at Home are my normal life habits. I miss being able to freely see family and friends; but I value these people so highly that I would not dare to infect someone simply because I wanted to see them in person.

A new Variant of CVirus is working its way across the globe. The Variant is significantly more infectious; so far, it does not seem to be any more deadly.

What has made this season so dismal is witnessing the callous disregard that the president and the senate has shown for the people they have sworn to represent. The violence that more-than-I-thought-possible have inflicted upon fellow citizens.

And worst of all, the Evangelical Church’s callous disregard of everything that Jesus taught about loving our neighbor and caring for the poor.

So as not to end this Chronicle on such a sour note, I offer the following illustration of what we need, moving forward:

Remember to hug, physically or symbolically, the ones we love; and carry a stick. My grandson loves sticks. They are useful tools for discovery.

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 222: Live Your Life in Such a Way That…

November 25, 2020

Saturday, November 7th I sent my adult children a portion of an MSNBC broadcast—Saturday evening, the day that Joseph R. Biden Jr. became President-Elect of the United States, church bells were ringing in Paris, there were fireworks in London. Dancing in the street in cities around the world—a new era in the governing of the United States. Governance based on Science, not Partisan Politics. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Devi Harris will have their hands full in the next years. It will take years to repair the damage done in the last 4 years. Damage that continues today, because the person currently behind the Resolute Desk is pouting and refusing to concede the election. He’s done such a good job of spreading propaganda for the last 4 years that nearly half the country believes the lies…
Propaganda is based on the idea that some specific entity is responsible for our problems. A story is told that has just enough ‘truth’ that someone will accept it as fact. That one political party is an enemy of ‘democracy’ and that the country’s news outlets are ‘enemies of the people’. The US Constitution differs in that perception:

First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or freedom of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. And yet, for most of 2020, peaceful assemblies have turned violent as two opposing sides fought to express their animosity; egged on by the man behind the Resolute Desk. More than two weeks have passed, and he still refuses to concede the election. Having lied and cheated already, he and his supporters tried to steal the election. People with Power could stop him; they apparently find value in the chaos. At least, General Services Administration confirmed that Biden is the probable winner, and his Transition can begin.

November 25, 2020, 6:30pm
12,769,915 CVirus infections in the US. 262,132 deaths. 178,750 new infections since yesterday. Statistically, the CVirus US death rate, per infections, is about 2.1%. 2.1% seems like a small number. 2.1% of 178,750 is 3,753 people who reported to a hospital somewhere in the country today and are now marked for death. A number in the thousands will be marked for death tomorrow.
“The most powerful man in the world” does not care. He’s too focused on the legal battles that will begin on January 20, 2021, when he is no longer the President of the United States. His indicted co-conspirator, the guy who says that he ‘knows where the bodies are buried’ because he ‘dug the holes,’ is certain that his boss will be joining him in an orange jumpsuit.

The largest voter turnout for a President at any point in American history resulted in 80,087,842 [51.1%] votes for Joe Biden; in contrast to the 73,903,127 [47.1%] people who voted for the current President’s reign to continue. The difference between the two numbers is 6,184,715. The Bush/Gore election that ended in the Supreme Court deciding for Bush, was over 500 contested Florida votes, not 6 million.
So, while 3,753 people were marked for death today [probably a large percentage of Republicans, who consider it ‘a violation of their civil liberties’ to wear masks], the President will do nothing to avert the deaths. He could, with a few phone calls, if he cared. He doesn’t. He cares about himself. And he convinced 74 million people that he was concerned about their lives. He isn’t concerned about anyone but himself.

Donald Trump skipped the G20 summit’s “Pandemic Preparedness” event to visit one of his golf clubs on the same day that a record 195,500 new Covid-19 infections were reported in a 24-hour period in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins.
The summit, attended by world leaders from across the globe, is being held virtually this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 250,000 Americans – by far the largest total in the world.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/21/donald-trump-g20-pandemic-golf-club

From the ridiculous to the sublime…

There are nights so dark, that the dawn is not merely distant, but beyond imagination.
These are the hours where grief lives, where fear rules, where truth lies exposed, like a wound.
Hope hides, peace is for others.The minutes extend, repeating the distress of the hours that went before, and every thought begins and ends in silence.
Let the light shine.
Watch for it falling on each other’s faces.
Count the beams, catch them, let them be reflected back.
See the hope, see the promise.
Never hide your fears in silence.
Listen to those you cherish.
Hold them in your arms.
Let them hear your heart.
Tell your truth. Tell your story.
Call the Midwife Series 8 Episode 8

Stories.
Our lives are told in stories.
Again, from Jupiter Ascending [2015]
Caine Wise:
“Okay. When I was in the Legion, they gave me protocols for this. It can be difficult for Terrsies, or people from underdeveloped worlds, to hear that their planet is not the only inhabited planet in the Universe. Protocol actually says that most Terrsies will say that this has to be a dream.”
Jupiter Jones:
“Yeah, because a dream is the only way any of this makes sense.”
Caine Wise:
“Compared to what? The idea that you’re the only intelligent species, on the only inhabitable planet in a universe so full of planets that you don’t even have a number to describe how many there are?

What isn’t mentioned above is the fact that there is a 360° repetition of the image.
Newton’s laws of motion are assumed to be applicable to our entire Solar System.
One translation of Newton’s laws reads:
Law I: Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.[14][b]
Law II: The alteration of motion is ever proportional to the motive force impress’d; and is made in the direction of the right line in which that force is impress’d.[15][c]
Law III: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.[d][e]

The Laws of Physics are also assumed to be applicable throughout our Solar System.
It seems reasonable to assume that these laws are applicable within the Milky Way galaxy.
If they are applicable throughout our galaxy, it seems reasonable to presume that these laws are applicable throughout the Universe.

I’ve been a designer for close to sixty years. I don’t remember a time that I didn’t draw. Designing stick figures on a sheet of paper, telling a story in my imagination. In time, I designed furniture; then I started designing houses; and in time I designed commercial buildings. When I worked for the City of Portland, I checked the designs of architects, to ensure that the buildings were compliant with the Building Code. When I went out to inspect buildings, I discovered that carpenters don’t always follow the plans; and that the architects weren’t always paying attention to the progress on a project.
This was all taking place when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
In this century, I started designing books in addition to designing construction solutions for architects and building designers. In relatively recent years, I’ve had to design a new way to create illustrations, since my hands don’t work very well anymore. Nonetheless, I recognize design when I see it.

Space is HUGE; and we are so small.
These last 4 years have given new meaning to the smallness of some people.
Our nearly immense inability to ‘play nice with other people’ has been on prominent display for the months of this Pandemic, which gives no sign of stopping.
I’m tempted to blame this horrid time on one man. The reality is that we would not be in a state of chaos unless a very large portion of our American population had wanted to follow this man down a road that leads to death. This year has shown that people have a nearly infinite capacity to do harm to others, while bystanders across the street and across the world [thanks to the Internet], cheer on those who want to solve all of our problems with violence.
The horrid man has given us license, being the ‘most powerful man in the world,’ to be as ugly toward other people as we want.
A public health nurse is getting death threats because she ‘dares’ to tell the public that CVirus is a threat to the health of everyone…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/11/18/health-care-worker-threats-coronavirus/?arc404=true

We humans live in a small solar system in a low-rent district of a galaxy; a solar system so small that it can’t even be seen on the image above. The yellow dot representing our Sun is probably immensely out of scale.
I am of the opinion that our solar system has warning beacons that cover the exterior diameter of our solar system, warning intelligent species to avoid this place because we are infected by a Plague. A Plague that is far older than our CVirus Pandemic [one that apparently will be remarkably similar to the Pandemic my grandparents lived through].
There really isn’t a name for this Plague; greed, selfishness, prejudice, a lack of willingness to live with each other in peace. A desire for power, and the corruption power brings.
People in this country can’t wait until we are able to ‘get back to normal’—in my opinion, ‘normal’ sucked. We need to aim higher.

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 218: To Look at the Stars, and Know that We are Not Alone

October 8, 2020

The Present:
I’m stuck with a new version of WordPress; because “it is better”
In my opinion, which I pay WordPress for, it sucks.

The President has been infected with COVID-19. The Virus he’s been lying about since February, when he learned the COVID-19 is deadly [Bob Woodward has the tape]. The Virus the President did nothing to quell until mid-March.  
If the United States had begun imposing social distancing measures one week earlier than it did in March, about 36,000 fewer people would have died in the coronavirus outbreak, according to new estimates from Columbia University disease modelers.
And if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided, the researchers estimated. Under that scenario, about 54,000 fewer people would have died by early May.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/us/coronavirus-distancing-deaths.html

The Virus Trump has been ridiculing for months; to the point where Trump supporters today still refuse to wear masks; even though their Leader is infected. No one knows exactly how bad the President’s infection is, because ‘the White House’ by choice, cannot be trusted to tell the Truth. The SUV in which the President, against doctor’s orders, decided to take for a drive to New Jersey is hermetically sealed to protect against gas attacks. It is air-tight. The Secret Service agent in front of the President, as well as any other individuals in the SUV are breathing the air in the President’s lungs and are probably infected with COVID-19. It is unlikely that they will be treated with the experimental drugs and steroids being used on the President.
The President has shown over the last 4 years that he has no more appreciation for the Secret Service agents sworn to protect his life than the children still rotting in ICE cages. And religious people throughout the country believe that the President has been blessed by god. As of today, the man who has said he has no need to repent, because he has never done anything wrong, says that his COVID diagnosis was a ‘blessing from god’. His niece and his sister have stated on tape, that Trump has no use for religion…
From J. H. McKenna, Ph.D:
Jesus did not arrive to lecture and berate the righteous or the virtuous or the upright or the honorable.  He said so himself. It’s sinners Jesus wants. “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
At the right moment, in the fullness of time (as is said) Jesus would come to earth with an antique message, not for good people, but for bad people, for people who need to repent in order to become good people…
In other words, from all eternities past, God conceived a religion precisely with Donald Trump in mind. So why hasn’t Donald Trump repented and converted to Christianity? (Don’t pretend he has.)  Why does Trump resist a religion invented precisely for him?
Can his Evangelical enthusiasts help him to an authentic, remorseful penitence? What could a repentant, truly reformed Trump look like?  Can we imagine Donald Trump becoming an honest, humble, humorous, charming, generous, open, self-deprecating moral titan?
Can the religion of Jesus, engineered with Trump in mind at least several billion years ago, actually snag Mr. Trump and save him and reform him and better him and allow him plenty of years ahead to perform restitution for his long, long, indeed life-long, slog through all the categories of sin?
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/humanistplus/2020/08/will-trump-repent-in-time

Tonight, at the Vice-Presidential debate, Mr. Pence proved that he can sling BS as well as his boss. As of one hour ago, according to the Johns Hopkins website, 7,549,429 living Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and 211,793 Americans have died. Those infected but not yet hospitalized suffer each day, to restore the life they had last year.
“The first claim that Vice President Pence made in the vice-presidential debate on Wednesday night was not true. He claimed that President Trump had “suspended all travel from China” in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States. The travel restrictions were sufficiently porous that nearly 40,000 people traveled from China to this country after the restrictions went into place…
Pence attempted to defend Trump’s record on the pandemic — and his own, given that he’s ostensibly in charge of the response — by pretending that a challenge to the administration’s record was somehow a disparagement of the public.
“When you say what the American people have done over these last eight months hasn’t worked,” Pence charged, “that’s a great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made.”
I mean, you work with what you’ve got. But this seems unlikely to work as a strategy.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/07/all-honest-politicians-are-same-each-member-trumps-ticket-is-dishonest-his-own-way

 

I’m not sure how much further into absurdity this country can fall.

 
   

The Future:
The best part of the movie, Jupiter Ascending:
Caine Wise: It can be difficult for Terrans, or people from underdeveloped worlds, to hear that their planet is not the only inhabited planet in the Verse.
Jupiter Jones: Has to be the anesthesia. I mean, it’s gotta be a dream.
Caine Wise: The Protocol actually says that most Terrans will say that this has to be a dream.
Jupiter Jones: Yeah, because a dream is the only way any of this makes sense.
Caine Wise: Compared to what? The idea that you’re the only intelligent species, on the only habitable planet, in a universe so full of planets that you don’t even have a number to describe how many there are?

NOT SCIENCE FICTION

COSMOS-AzTEC-1

A newly mapped [2018] starburst galaxy labeled COSMOS-AzTEC-1 – located 12.4 billion light-years away, in the early universe – is now known to be forming stars 1,000 times faster than our Milky Way. It’s also been found to have star-forming regions not in its galactic center, but in vast clouds located off-center by several thousand light-years. [Emphasis added]How these galaxies have been able to amass such a large quantity of gas in the first place and then essentially turn the entire gas reserve into stars in the blink of an eye, cosmologically speaking, was a completely unknown question about which we could only speculate. We have the first answers now.
https://earthsky.org/space/starburst-galaxy-cosmos-aztec-1-unstoppable-monster

Why is this important?
This is an image of a galaxy as it was, 12.4 Billion years ago. Two years ago, it became known that the galaxy is forming stars 1,000 times faster than our Milky Way.

The idea that you’re the only intelligent species, on the only habitable planet, in a universe so full of planets that you don’t even have a number to describe how many there are?

Look at the night sky on a clear night where city lights cannot be seen. Each of those points of light is a solar system in the Milky Way galaxy. Creator may still be forming stars from cosmic gas. The number defies counting.

In another 20 years, the current President will be dead [at 94 and morbidly obese].
My granddaughter, preparing to vote in her first Election, will be nearly as old as her mother is now.
The United States of America will hopefully still exist.

The Earth may not be habitable in 20 years [2040]. The oceans will have new ‘sea levels’ due to the melting of our Ice Caps. There may only be portions of the continents in their most extreme distances that are habitable. Global Warming/Climate Change is Real. Bangladesh is largely under water due to typhoons.
In every election for every office from now onward, we Earthlings need to elect people who respect science, and rely on the wisdom of experts, if we are to survive.

I know people who believe that Climate Change isn’t important because Jesus is Returning Soon. Jesus, all of the Creator that could be stuffed into a human, did not know when He would return. The Return/Second Coming is an interpretation based on a handful of verses from the New Testament, the Revelation of John, in particular.
 1 John 2:18 in Aramaic [the language used in Jesus’ time]
My sons, it is the end time, and as you have heard that something will come; the false anointed one, and also now, for, there are many false anointed ones, and from this we know it is the end of time.

As near as I can tell, Time for Earth did not end two Millenia ago. The author of 1st John was making a prediction based on what he knew at the time.
What scientists know is that we have a limited amount of time for keeping Earth habitable. This was the purpose of the Paris Agreement that our President dumped shortly after he took office.
How late is too late for policies to have a reasonable likelihood of achieving the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree goal in 2100? Assuming a moderate mitigation strategy, a 2-degree warming threshold, and accepting a 67% likelihood of remaining below the threshold, the Point of No Return will arrive in the year 2035.
https://environment-review.yale.edu/too-little-too-late-carbon-emissions-and-point-no-return

There are other dates, dependent upon mitigation strategies and the rising of the Ocean due to melting glaciers.
Only the Creator knows our planet’s future.
If we are wise, we can help heal the planet. This is the job Jesus set out for us.

Stewardship

for Malakai

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 218: He Knew

September 10, 2020

Negligent homicide is the killing of another person through gross negligence or without malice…It is characterized as a death caused by death by conduct that grossly deviated from ordinary care. Negligent homicide may be charged as a lesser-included offense of manslaughter. It is also sometimes referred to as “involuntary manslaughter”.

https://definitions.uslegal.com/n/negligent-homicide/

I thought he simply was the stupidest man that had ever sat behind the Resolute Desk. I thought his overlarge, supremacist ego prevented him from effectively doing his job. I was wrong.

He knew

In his own words, on tape to Bob Woodward in February, the President admitted that he knew COVID-19 was 5X deadlier than the ‘common flu;’ he knew that it was airborne. He lied to the American public. He said it would “go away like a miracle”. All of the unmasked, mask-ridiculing, MAGA events with a thousand people standing shoulder to shoulder were scenes of negligent homicide. The President has been killing the people who would vote for him, if they were still alive. If he had merely told people to wear masks, thousands of people would not have died. What kind of person does that?

From Jennifer Rubin:

When the president deliberately lies to the American people — as multiple presidents during the Vietnam War did (as we learned from the Pentagon Papers) — and many Americans die as a result, even loyal members of his own party must condemn him and demand he step away. His actions cost critical time, prevented earlier lockdowns and provided a false sense of security to vulnerable people. In all likelihood, tens of thousands of dead Americans would be alive today if he had acted with minimal competence and honesty.

This situation is not unlike Trump’s impeachment hearings. Overwhelming evidence, including the president’s own words documented in the rough transcript of the July 25, 2019, call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, demonstrated that Trump had betrayed the United States by extorting an ally at war with Russia for his own electoral benefit. Senate Republicans are not stupid; they merely refused to acknowledge what was before their eyes.

Now, we have similar malfeasance — precisely the sort of noncriminal but impeachable behavior that the impeachment clause is designed to uncover. Once again, Republicans will claim up is down and night is day. They will refuse to accept Trump’s own words confessing to a deception that cost thousands of American lives. They will not call for his resignation or call for him to withdraw from the election. They would rather continue to support a president demonstrably unfit than risk the wrath of Trump and his cult, just as they overlooked the threat to the lives of Ukrainians…

In his memorable summation at the impeachment trial, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) declared, “History will not be kind to Donald Trump. If you find that the House has proved its case, and still vote to acquit, your name will be tied to his with a cord of steel and for all of history.” Republicans did not care. Now that Americans’ lives have been sacrificed at the altar of Trump’s ego, Republicans face another hinge moment: say nothing and join Trump in the dumpster of history, or speak up, call for his resignation and recapture a modicum of respect. Sadly, there is little doubt they will choose the former.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/09/09/trumps-unforgivable-sin-his-covid-19-lies-killed-americans/

Bob Woodward is complicit in this negligent homicide. He knew in February, also. He had the President’s words on tape. And he chose not to say anything.

Sometime next week, 200,000 US citizens will have died.
This was not necessary.

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 217: Lest We Forget

August 8, 2020

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chronicles in Ordinary Time 216: Lest We Forget

August 5, 2020

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

These shadows remain, even though the persons
who made the shadows disintegrated 75 years ago.

Sane people would decide that this would never happen again.

We have a shortage of sane people leading governments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 215: This is Why Federal Troops Came to Portland

July 26, 2020

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

We have unwanted Federal Troops making war on peaceful protestors.

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

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

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

And the Federal response is storm troopers.

 

 

 


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