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Tag: Constitution

Flatten the Curve, Metaphorically

When the lockdowns started, and Oregon residents were given a choice to wear masks or not to wear masks, I chose to not wear masks. I was in the minority, but every business (except one customer who gave me the evil eye and got a look of disdain back, needless to say, she did not look at me again) I entered, the employees greeted me with a smile with their eyes as before the lockdowns. Shortly, and I mean days after the evil-eyed customer, the governor decided that not enough people were following her advice and made them mandatory.

I stocked up as much as I could without resorting to hoarding, though one employee disagreed and said to another, “I told you she would be in again.”

But after a few weeks, it dawned on me that this was going to last far longer than I had anticipated.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, the Christian cliché goes. I had watched a movie: the storyline was touching, beautiful, clean, and not to be forgotten (except for the title, which escapes me). Later, an idea hit me – the main character had to have a job at night because he was allergic to the sun. He was a courier.

So I did my internet research. I also found other ways of purchasing what I needed. The Lord provided in ways that never gets old.

Fast Forward a Year and a Quarter Later

The masks are starting to come off. But not in the way I would have dreamed, though the Lord warned me 20 years ago of “Hitler’s Germany looking like candy compared to what is coming.” I never would have lived my life if I could have seen what was coming.

I never was afraid of the virus, after praying for the Lord to take the fear away. It was the people around me who did not research and caved to fear that I was afraid. I did not want to be on the receiving end of an irate masked person, or worse, the police. And I did not want to get the local businesses in trouble, for they were forced to become mask police.

But every chance I had to not wear a mask “legally,” I ran with it.

I went for a walk today in the rain. First one since the lockdown started. I used to walk with my portable radio & headphones along the beach. Then the devil interfered. Soaking wet, but feeling soul-satisfied, I took a hot shower and sat down to write this post.

By no means is this over. Devastating revelations are fixing to fly. Research. Start with recent events and don’t use mainstream media for answers. Mainstream media is a piece of the revelation puzzle.

On my about page, I mention that not all art needs to directly point to the Lord. This movie was an answer I did not know I needed at the time. The fact that it was so beautifully done and remained in my memory, is God’s work of art, whether the people involved in the film knew it or not.

Some details in this post will remain a mystery. But good writing co-creates with the reader and allows them to use their native intelligence. And some details just need to remain private, if that is even possible anymore. I personally don’ t believe it is, but I have to at least try.

Shout Outs & Thank Yous

  • The local police. They made protesters follow the law recently and protected us.
  • My town. They did not cave to cancel culture regarding community and private events.
  • My courier.
  • A few local businesses.
  • Friends and family. For being there.
  • And mostly, the Lord, who gave me creative ways and the fortitude to deal.

FaithWriting

Aelred Writes What He Can’t Read

Prologue

Some writers, past or present, have not found the subject matter they wanted to read and decided to write what they could not find. Aelred had read Cicero’s On Friendship, but could not find anything on Christian friendship. So he decided to write it himself.

The book is sectioned into three parts: Book One covers the theology of spiritual friendship, as discussed between Ivo and himself. He also lists two more worldly friendship types. Book Two and Book Three is another conversation between Aelred, Walter, and Gratian discussing practical points on forming and maintaining friendships.

Book One

Aelred doesn’t just jump into this theology, he sets the stage with how this conversation should be conducted between both parties.

He notices Ivo is silent in a group of talking monks and surmises that Ivo wants to talk privately. He tells Ivo he likes the fact that he is not an idle-talking monk, speaking only what is “useful and necessary.” For this reason, Aelred trusts Ivo to speak freely, knowing that time will not be wasted (on what I would call frou-frou). Aelred tells Ivo, he will be treated as an equal partner in the conversation.

Laying the foundation for their conversation, they agree to use Cicero’s definition of friendship as a starting point. “Friendship is mutual harmony in affairs human and divine coupled with benevolence and charity.” Ivo asks what the two terms mean and Aelred replies that benevolence means affection of the heart and charity means carrying out in deed. In other words, one is a feeling and the other is an action.

Ivo can’t see how true friendship can be lived with those who live without Christ. Aelred says though Cicero’s definition is imperfect for all types of friendships, you can get some idea of the nature of friendship.

He tells Ivo that he won’t teach what he doesn’t know. Aelred then proceeds to explain that a friend is a “guardian of our mutual love or the guardian of my spirit to preserve all its secrets in faithful silence, as far as he can, cure and endure such defects as he may observe.” In other words, protect your friend’s privacy, speak the truth in love when needed and wanted, and have patience.

Aelred does refer to spiritual friendship as being a “sweetness.” This counters Ivo’s argument of even trying if, as Cicero states, friendship is rare. And regardless of the outcome of any friendship, knowledge is gained.

He does define two other types of non-spiritual friendship. Both can turn into spiritual friendship.

  1. Worldly – useful for getting money.
  2. Carnal – useful for getting passionate desires met.

Aelred also references Adam and Eve in friendship. “How beautiful it is that the second human being was taken from the side of the first. So that nature might teach that human beings are equal…neither superior nor inferior, a characteristic of true friendship.” From beauty to ugliness, the fall of Adam and Eve corrupted charity and friendship. Once this happened, friendship remained among whom he refers to good, according to natural law.

For his final question, Ivo wants to know if wisdom can be abused through pleasing others through it, being prideful with it, or selling it. Aelred answers these are vices, so they are not an aspect of wisdom, so no.

Some Thoughts

  • True friendship is a trinity – Christ in the middle of two bound together for eternity.
  • When Aelred tells Ivo he can’t teach what he doesn’t know, he is showing humility and honesty towards Ivo. Servant leadership. I had a boss once who epitomized a true leader. One thing she hated was the small talk before business meetings. This is where I learned the term frou-frou. Seriously, though, agreeing on the terms of conversation dispels confusion later and keeps it steered in the right direction.
  • Aelred’s definition of friendship as each other’s guardians makes me think of the protection of each other and God’s protection of us in Psalms 91.
  • In the days ahead, as society is rebuilt with a godly foundation, true friends will be role models.
  • I looked up natural law. Divine timing – the next day after I wrote this, I heard a radio interview mention natural law and our Founding Fathers. Worth looking up.

At the end of Book One, Ivo doesn’t want to wait for another conversation, but he does this side of heaven. He dies before Book Two is written. We will have the practical aspects taught to us through Aelred’s conservation with Walter and Gratian.

Post 1 – Aelred Writes What He Can’t ReadPost 3 – Add Gratian’s and Walter’s Banter
Post 4 – Aelred, Walter, and Gratian Bid Adieu

FaithReadingWriting

Setting Sail for 2021

Now that the festivities of the Christmas season are over, I have amassed a list of projects to keep me busy, and writing more blog posts. I want to make a spreadsheet of commonly used Linux terminal commands, reorganize my planner, and as stated before, one of the biggest is revamping my blog.

My New Year Resolutions get written on New Year’s Eve, sealed and read the next New Year’s Eve. They, over the last few years, have morphed more into a letter to the Lord and what I feel He wants me to do. Plus a few of my own desires thrown in.

Ordered three new books today. One in response to a follower: 1984 by George Orwell. It will be interesting to see how current events line up with the book.

Next two in line: Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson, and To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction by Phillip Lopate. I have a weakness for writing books; most of my bookshelf is crowded with them.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

This verse – read in context – is during the time of Israel’s captivity, with promises from God that He will someday return them to their homeland. I think it is a key verse for 2021.

FaithReadingWriting

Changes

I have been posting recently about changes coming, shocking changes. Even though I did all my research and physical training before Marine Corps boot camp, I did not realize until I started training how hard it would be. And today in all this political turmoil, I am feeling it. Still keeping my faith high, but feeling low.

And in the midst of all of this, I am planning to make changes to my blog. So I am asking for feedback on any improvements that you would like to see. (I have my list made.) Check my contact page for my email, contact form, or leave a comment on this post. Any constructive criticism goes, or any pat on the back regarding things you like here.

When the Israelites were faced with no way out – the Red Sea parted. Can you imagine how much faith that would take to cross over, feeling like the walls of water could crush you at any moment? But they did, and so shall we.

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV

Faith

What Is Grit?

Grit. Dictionary.com defines it as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck” along with “abrasive.”

Movies have been made about grit – I think of John Wayne and Kim Darby playing gritty characters in True Grit.1

Flannery O’Connor viewed sentimental Christian writing as “… a distortion that overemphasized innocence.”…“And innocence, when exaggerated in a fallen world, not only mocked the true state of man and society, but the price that was paid for their redemption.”2

In these examples, grit includes telling it like it is and still forging ahead.

The Bible says of suffering, “perseverance, character; and character, hope.”3


1https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065126/
2https://www1.cbn.com/biblestudy/the-calling-of-christian-writers
3Romans 5:4 NIV


Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

Grieving Enemies

For upwards of 20 years, I had a dream to leave the Midwest and start a new life.

My dream became a nightmare. And the death of my dream entails grief. Because of the ongoing nature of my nightmare, I don’t get healing or closure.

Last night, I was listening to my usual line-up of sermons. And I was about to fall asleep when I was awakened, and knew this time it was the Lord wanting me to hear this particular sermon. It was on handling grief. At the end, he said we need time to process grief of the people who are our enemies – people who abuse us. That got my attention.

As I was mulling this over, it came to me that the nation is going to face grief in the death of what we perceived as the American Dream.

Tidal waves of exposures are hitting our shores, sending many who have not been reading outside of the main stream media into denial, anger, bargaining, and depression – what some would call the first four grief stages of five. Some will feel guilt at being happy that enemies are gone. Some will feel regret that we could not unify and bring closure. Some will be angry that anyone will even be grieving.

Just as I yearn for healing and closure in my personal life, I yearn for the same for America. There will be a need to process grief once this scourge is over. America will not heal if we do not process the what and why of this loss. However, I believe God has better plans for us. Plans that are above and beyond our wildest imaginations, if we chose to accept it.

Faith

History Repeats?

Out of the 1870 Franco-Prussian War, the Communards were born. As the name suggests, Karl Marx agreed with the political form of government, although he disagreed with the methodology. They followed the socialist philosophy of the 1790’s French Revolutionaries.

In a nutshell, Germany provoked France in a war with Prussia as a ruse to unite German peoples as nation-states. France invaded Germany and Germany then invaded France. They marched onward into Paris. At the time, it was one of the most heavily fortified cities.

When Germany invaded France all of the government officials and upper to middle classes fled Paris, leaving only the poor working class behind. The national guardsmen from this class wanted to form a new government called communes. Elections were held and they won.

After the win, they seized Catholic property, arrested Catholic clergy, and executed the Arch Bishop of Paris. National monuments were defaced.

Germany released French prisoners to counter, since a peace treaty had been signed. In what was called “bloody week,” many Parisians died. Some escaped, some were lined up and shot, and others faced war councils.

Though you can not fit what is happening now neatly into what I have written here, similarities do exist and lessons are to be learned. Betrayals abound, and fortifications are not foolproof. Sow violence, and you reap violence.

Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah,
As on the day of Massah in the wilderness,
“When your fathers put Me to the test,
They tested Me, though they had seen My work.
For forty years I was disgusted with that generation,
And said they are a people who err in their heart,
And they do not know My ways.
Therefore I swore in My anger,
They certainly shall not enter My rest.”

Psalms 95:8-11 NASB

Faith

Wild West and WIPs

With the revelations of malfeasance in the offing, Big Tech being in the cross-hairs in the days ahead, it is hard for content creators to know where to publish their works. Many that I follow online are doing a tremendous job of keeping afloat in the atmosphere of censorship.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is in the President’s cross-hairs as a national security threat. It would stifle social media companies by making them liable for on-site postings, therefore open to lawsuits. Some say to enforce this by punishing those companies that have censored conservatives. Others want it to be deleted.

And it has been a national security threat. If it were only a few companies censoring, they would most likely be disciplined and that would be the end of it. But the Big Tech companies – the big, bad apples spoiling it for us all – have consorted, pushing out the truth, and bamboozling a large swatch of the population in believing lies. The lies being antithetical to the U.S. Constitution.

With unbridled, unrestrained freedom, I see a governmental backlash coming. If the social media companies are held accountable for what they publish, what does that mean for those of us who use the internet for ministry and/or writing? Are we about to reap what we have sown by not using freedom wisely?

If we are called to keep pursing our online writing ministries (and as a small fish in a big pond, I am), then I see a return back to what the internet was in the ‘90s, when I published my first blog. We all had our own home space on world wide web with search engines (like Technorati) and RSS feeds for others to read our content. I do think there is room for social media, but with a proper perspective to our home base.

Wild West days are upon us, it will be a work in progress – a WIP. It will be interesting to see what companies survive and those that don’t.

Those that have callings to produce content, need to get before the Lord and ask for wisdom, if they have not already. He shall surely give it.


Have a blessed weekend!

FaithWriting

Election Season Thoughts

On the election emotional chart, emotions look like a banner day at the stock market, with no downturn in sight.

In my physical life, those I do talk politics with, we listen to each other and respond civilly.

In my digital (but no less important) life, it is usually the same. But today, I ran afoul of a commenter who had choice words about the governor. I am definitely ready for a new conservative one. However, no enemy warrants name-calling. I called for “keeping it classy” and got a childish, unclassy response. (I love the block button sometimes.)

I believe extreme faith will need to be exercised up until God sends His answer. I believe it is going to be biblical. When evil is world-wide and beyond the scope of ordinary law-abiding citizens, extreme lawful measures have to be taken. I believe revelations are coming that will rock the world over, one tsunami wave after another.

God delights in last-minute answers so He gets all the glory.

Faith

Solitude Work and Privacy

I have always enjoyed my own company, reading books and travelling by proxy to other lands and cultures.

Seriously lacking in our current culture is minding our own business. With societal lack of privacy and isolation, it is tempting to throw up our hands and let it all hang out. Even despite extreme technological abilities and the people who use it, my privacy rests in God. This is a biblical concept.

Stated in a previous post, I wrote that I hated writing a sonnet. Not as easy as the haikus I write. But today I decided to concentrate on the task at hand, and came out of it with 50 minutes of work and a decent 1st draft of my second stanza. I struggled for years thinking writing poetry was not work. Behind this was caring what others thought of me. It did nothing but rob me of poems that were not written.

Finished Walden. Henry David Thoreau loved his own company for two years. This is a gift.

FaithPoetryWriting

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