30 December 2016

A Grain Of Sand Measuring Time

Psalm 139: 17-18

Measuring time and day is a necessity for life.

This time-keeping can also be stressful and a cause for anxiety.

Being on-time, keeping a date (for business or recreation) and setting appointments are basic functions for people in all cultures...that desire to consider others.

Time is an idea and this idea has been 'measured' according to human observation.

To close out year 2016 of our Lord, a second will be added prior to counting in the next year.

I am amazed at how mankind has explored the reasonings behind our world's existence, and the concepts mankind has produced to make sense of this existence.

Time is one such concept that would encourage a notion of repeated patterns.

The study of the stars gave way to the concept of time and the year.

For the farmers of antiquity and Today, a day (and daylight hours) in December is very different from a day in July.

For many people the world over, the next few hours means a 'change' for them.

But this change is more a mindset and concept than a difference or a change.

December could easily have 30 days or 28 days instead of 31.

Other calendars have existed in other times and places, with more days and less days.

Some people have followed a lunar calendar, and their years have been counted differently, with the first of the month not falling on the same day year after year.

Adjustments are made to follow the perceived order of the earth's rotation around the sun (see difference here).

And we now have another adjustment with the addition of a second.

What I find really amazing is how the observable concept of 'time' is not 'perfect' according to man's calculation.

The earth's rotation around the sun is not perfectly 365 days as man understands days, hours, minutes and seconds...thus the need to add a second to 2016's year.

Although men have come up with 'time' and have measured it down to a nanosecond (one billionth of a second), the system of things is in perfect balance even when people play catch-up with their adjustments.

27 December 2016

Life's Interpretive Dance...Dance With Me


What would a message be without an interpretation of that message?

Perhaps the message would speak clearer without an interpretation.

Perhaps the message would speak louder and clearer with an interpretation.

Perhaps the message would be muted, or 'stay' muted, or possibly become ambiguous or misunderstood on its own with / without an interpretation.

Is it possible for various interpretations to exist and stand without contradiction?

Can more interpretations simply speak to broader understandings?

Do more interpretations muddy a message's meaning?

Can any given message interpret itself?

Read some definitions of “interpretation” for yourself, please.

As with many other questions, the answers can sometimes be 'yes' or 'no', and also be both 'yes' and 'no'.

Sometimes, an 'interpretation' is simply an elaboration on what is being messaged.

When elaborating, sometimes the meaning of the message can be confused or even lost.

There have been times I've read a line, or a portion of something, either an inspired work or something that is simply a political observation, and as time and experienced passed through me the same words would speak more than I initially understood.

More was derived from the same amount of words.

Did the words change?

Did the meaning change?

It was me that changed...my perceptions, thoughts, etc., not the words or the 'message' as I initially read it.

But somehow the message now speaks more, maybe even a slightly different thing, but not as I would understand the difference to be.

I could say the message changed...or perhaps it would be better to say what I understand has changed, and the message speaks more now although with the same amount of words.

Deeper meanings can be realized, standing next to the previously acknowledged meaning(s).

How can the meaning of the same words in the same sequence 'change' or mean something 'more' to me years later?

You can sometimes tell exactly what someone believes by their answers, or the manner in which they explain something.

But can you tell where that person's heart will be the following day, or in another decade?

24 December 2016

1,000 Words On The Night Before Christmas

1 John 4: 19
I used to be suspicious of cultural influences, learning a disdain for secular traditions affecting religious themes by following sharp legalistic opinions.

I now try to look beyond suspicions for the 'good' or the 'how it started' story that typically accompanies the genesis of traditions.

Christmas is one such tradition that has come under greater suspicion thanks to social media...and with the internet, we can read the past to see exactly how what we experience Today came about.

Looking past the consumerism that typically overrides a time of giving and inner reflection, let's instead focus on how the celebration of Christmas developed over the years.

This article isn't so much a suspicious critique as past articles about traditions have been, but a brief look at what really “is”, and why...leaving undeserved fears and suspicions in the past.

From the article:

“The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Greek bishop and gift-giver of Myra, the British figure of Father Christmas, the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself based on Saint Nicholas), the German figure of the Christkind (a fabulized Christ Child), and the holidays of Twelfth Night and Epiphany and their associated figures of the Three Kings (based on the gift-giving Magi of the Nativity) and Befana.”

Focusing on the historical and scholarly origins of a story is, I think, the best place to start (and finish) when considering the motivations behind a legend.

Questions to ponder after reading the historical development of Santa Claus, initially modeled after the historical person Saint Nicholas:

Did the idea of Santa Claus (or similar) develop out of an aim, or desire, to stimulate people to spend money and consume merchandise, or something more considerate?

Has the idea of Christmas caused more harm than good or has it developed more good than bad over the years?

Do secular ideas diminish the work that a man named Nicholas (and considered a saint by many) inspired so long ago?

Considering your answers and the reasons behind your answers, it is important to remember what has been written down prior to Nicholas regarding traditions, rituals and celebrating certain days:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 
- Colossians 2: 16-17
This passage in Colossians seems to be speaking to people who celebrate certain things which other people may consider “meaningless” or “wrong”.

It may speak to a freedom embracing religious or secular activities that do not cause depravity, but can be a tool towards promoting a Christ-centered theme...and this is actually what Nicholas effected and what some still forward Today.

The following passages speak more deeper and clearer to the temptation of judging others when forgetting the bigger picture of what God has established and what is more important:
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: 
“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,      ‘every knee will bow before Me;          every tongue will acknowledge God.’ ” 
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 
- Romans 14: 4-12
Realize the new reality of love and grace in Christ.

The new age speaks freedom over a believer's activity (that doesn't lead to depravity).


This is an extension of their faith while on earth; the blending of a righteous life in view of a secular world.

With these two particular passages in Romans and Colossians, in their context, we can see a variety of interpretations from others.

Some use these very passages to enforce more rules and restrictions, while others use these same passages to encourage freedoms in Christ.

I am of the latter perception, having experienced the former while learning hard lessons of narrow-minded critical interpretations.

We do see the evidence of the latter interpretation having flourished the world over in the many faces and cultural varieties of Christendom.

We see the arms of God having spread wide and far around what people carry with them in tradition while still proclaiming Jesus as Lord and God of their lives.

It is the gate which is narrow, and it is the Master who ultimately decides how their servant stands.

It simply isn't an individual's place to make what is already narrow more narrow according to a critical and accusing view of meaningful or meaningless traditions.

For some people, Christmas is very meaningful.

For some other people, Christmas is absolutely meaningless.

As I understand Christ, both are correct for each individual.

It is possible that both people, having opposing views, can be unified, at peace and loving one another.

This is possible with God; when love, peace and obedience to the Way is pursued.

This is not possible if men attack their brothers over what they do or do not observe.

22 December 2016

Dead Or Alive?

He passed away ten feet from where I stood to capture this image weeks ago.

I saw a man laying dead on the wet ground this morning.

But whether he is now alive or dead forever I do not know.

I had stepped out unusually early, still in my pajamas and a heavy sweater, to get something for someone.

As I step onto the curb from crossing the street, I notice someone I had seen the day before still in the same place.

I looked for signs of breathing, but the breath of life had left him some time ago.

I stepped over to him and prayed as I have been taught to do in such circumstances.

When I saw him from across the street yesterday, I figured he had a long night of drinking and found that spot to rest for a while.

Seeing him now here in the same place, through a night of consistent rain, bothered me profoundly.

I became emotional.

I walk over to someone sweeping a neighboring commercial parking lot and ask him if he had a phone on him, adding that there is a man who is not with us any longer.

The man goes over to take a look, and recognizes him as a man who frequented that location.

He hands me his cell phone to make the call.

I don't have a cell phone; got rid of it years ago for various reasons.

After explaining the situation to the woman on the other line of the emergency call, and answering the series of questions she's reading from / has memorized, I am patched through to the fire department.

Another series of questions answered.

A man joins us.

He is young and also homeless as was the man laying down, but now the man I found resides elsewhere.

The young man recognizes him as well, recalling a moment in time a few days ago how this very man, now laying here before the three of us, was excited to have spoken to a woman (or that the woman had responded and acknowledged him).

I understand this partially.

Partially because I have never been in such a situation.

The part I do understand is that very often homeless people are ignored by the general public.

By denying their existence, by refusing to acknowledge they share the same space and breathe the same air as all of us, is similar to a form of hate and spite I think.

It should then be of no surprise when people who have lost a place to call home somehow lose a grip on reality, being now treated less importantly the animals people call pets.

Have you noticed how people are quick to rescue a stray dog or cat?

But our very brothers and sisters, although strangers by face, are ignored as if they were animals, while the animals some desire to 'save' have people falling over themselves to help them.

Perhaps if the animals would speak, as the homeless grow silent, then people would realize the condition of our 'modern' societies and our lack of apathy...me included, ashamedly.

This man came to rest on the property of a 'church', a few feet from the bus stop.

There is a wall that surrounds the church property, but it goes in a few feet where the parking would be; a section of dirt with a tree...this man's final resting place.

I did not recognize the man by face, but my heart recognizes the humanity, the image of God, and my heart feels pain for this man.

The hope I have, though not knowing him personally, is that somehow this man knew God Almighty...and that the Almighty knew this man and holds him now in love and light.

20 December 2016

Prayers Beyond The Grave

1 Timothy 6: 1-6

Friends and family, let us always work on what unites us over what seems to divide us.

And let us always return to what has been written for us and affirmed by the great cloud of witnesses who preceded us.

These witnesses, who constantly pray for those of us who are still on earth, are constantly praising God in His Presence.

Consider the exchange between the rich man and Abraham.

Consider that Mary the mother of Christ was elevated above all women.

Yeshua / Jesus is not only elevated above all mankind; He is proclaimed Lord and God from everlasting to everlasting.

He is the manifestation and image of the Ancient of Days!

I see the contention against a phrase like the “communion with saints”, a phrase speaking to those who have been released from the body, as simply keeping rapport with those now in His spiritual Presence.

Are we not directed to have communion while still in the flesh on earth?

Do we not also ask one another to pray for us?

So why would death separate that activity and the faithful notion of communion and prayer requests among the saints, the body of Christ?

If, for example, you and I being brothers in Christ...I ask you to pray for me regarding something in particular, we find this as a teaching, correct?

What if you or I happen to go with the Lord (are released from the body of flesh), does death separate us, now since one of us are no longer in the flesh?

Why cannot I / you continue the same prayerful communion we had with one another as before?

These are things that should be considered, building upon love and unified communion with others, for as I see it, it depends on faith rather than doubt and confusion.

Consider then how Lazarus' sisters and others were very sorrowful when Lazarus died.

Although Jesus reassured them that Lazarus will live (speaking spiritually beyond the flesh), even Jesus was brought to tears, due to I think, their lack of faith and dismal understanding of the Gospel's messaged reality.

The reality of who and what He is...and the reality of 'how', 'where', 'why' and 'when' the kingdom of God is (and has been).

The spiritual understandings seem to be beyond our limited carnal understandings and humanistic perceptions.

This is why God became a man, in order to complete the work since the beginning, so men can have a glimpse of this amazing and eternal God.

16 December 2016

Difference Between Laws & Freedom / Religious Or Righteous?

Galatians 5: 13

The entire dialogue in Acts 15 is the first explicit and clarifying confirmation of the fulfillment of the law Christ proclaims in Matthew 5: 17 read here:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 
- Matthew 5: 17-20
This passage speaks of accomplishment and righteousness.

Notice the subsequent repeating of the phrase in Matthew 5 “You have heard that it was said...But I tell you” in the rest of Matthew 5.

What does this speak to when Christ points out the Pharisees and teachers of the law (who rely and stand on the law of Moses) and speaking into effect His new commandments?

One very clear example was the law's requirement to “love your neighbor and hate your enemy” contrasted with Christ's new command to “love their enemy and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 43-44).

It seems what was prior (the law of Moses) has been replaced by what was proclaimed in and through Christ; the coming of new wine that has replaced the old wine (Matthew 9: 17).

When looking at the entire chapter of Acts 15, we see in verse 5:
Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” 
- Acts 15: 5
You can read how this issue was resolved in the rest of that chapter, and how the notion that any new believer, even Gentiles, are held to keep the issue of circumcision, or to “keep” the law of Moses, is not a salvation issue, but a matter of misunderstanding and nearsightedness.

The highlights are as follows:
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. 
- Acts 15: 28-29
The Holy Spirit has confirmed (Acts 15: 6-11) what Christ has proclaimed (Matthew 5: 17-20).

The council of Apostles have affirmed what God had revealed through the preaching experience with the Gentile converts; they were blessed and baptized (gifted) with the Holy Spirit despite their ignorance of the law and not being physically Jews (not circumcised).

Here we also find the first instance of binding and loosening mentioned in Matthew 18: 18 when the Apostles followed what the Holy Spirit revealed (see also Acts 11: 1-18).

The one specific item loosened, which was also the controversial issue that gave rise to Acts 15's proclamation, was circumcision.

The several items which were bound over from the law were:

- abstain from food sacrificed to idols

- abstain from blood

- abstain from the meat of strangled animals

- abstain from sexual immorality

Elsewhere you can read how circumcision is now a spiritual pruning of the heart, not of the flesh.

No other issue or specific item was mentioned from the entirety of the Law of Moses.

No other item was bound over from the law.

This, I think, is quite significant and is a striking difference from what was perceived with some early believers, especially the groups from the Pharisees (as mentioned in the opening portion of Acts 15).

Sadly, there is still much confusion and controversy even today among certain groups who, perhaps out of a lack of faith, try to convince themselves and others that the Law of Moses must be kept.

Many are the reasons, and the arguments can be quite vast, especially the wide weaving in and out of Scripture to push this empty argument.

However, there is no such furthering of certain laws, rituals, activities and certain days to perform certain things that was established by the Holy Spirit, Apostles and the early church (as we can find in Acts 15 and elsewhere).

The Gospel seems to not have been God's effort to turn the world into religious and outward Jews, but into spiritual and inward Jews; not outward keepers of the Law 'looking' and dressing a certain way, but internal keepers of the law of love... with this love being the outward evidence for the world to see and come to know God.

13 December 2016

Painting Beautiful Landscapes


The internet is never short of controversial and misleading content.

Expressive opinions are never in short supply, but most opinions are incorrect and narrow.

Opinions have floated around the world since men carried what they heard as they traveled from place to place.

What is a myth for some people is a fact for others, and vice versa.

Interestingly, what has always been held as a matter of fact is nowadays popularly considered folklore and myth.

Consider the belief in God, or the belief that there is a God, and all other ideas that come to mind when considering the term 'God' and what that term means.

Does thinking of the term 'God' bother you inside or does something else?

When an idea, concept or notion, whether fake or real, seems to be a recent issue, read about what propaganda now is and what that word was previously.

If the information sounds wrong, or unbelievable, then the truthfulness of the information won't initially matter to the doubting ears.

How can something, even ancient an belief, be proven true (or false)?

Depends on who is propagating the information, and whether proof with evidence can be provided.

Notice for a moment the difference between the meanings (and historical etymologies) of the two words 'propaganda' and 'propagate'.

One carries a negative connotation, while the other one seems neutral.

Yet most likely the vast majority of people the world over not only believe certain propaganda to be 'true', they unwittingly forward propaganda to others on a daily basis.

Many are propagating propaganda, while believing themselves to be forwarding (propagating) something truthful.

Misinformation and purposely misleading things are a typical element of the internet, sadly.

Much of what is false or cloudy is simply the forwarded opinions of others.

From these have sprouted ideas that cause more doubt than faith, strife rather than peace, and division rather than unity.

Regarding the things people believe in when thinking of God, one could find notions that may be very appealing to man's logic, while also falling short of encompassing what God has established and already provided long ago.

The thoughts that gravitate toward God come along ideas expressing a grand purpose to humanity's existence, pointing to a settling notion that everything seems to have evolved, not by chance and out of chaos, but according to a design... similar to the vast array of design we see all around us in nature.

Some would argue than certain rituals, or rules, must be adhered to in order to “please God”.

These are the activities that religions are made of.

The further one would explore these external efforts, the deeper condition of the heart is typically ignored, overseen or never fully impacted.

This is why Christ is quoted to have said “the kingdom of God is within you”.

No matter the myriad of ways this phrase can be interpreted, every single way has you thinking.

So how does one know for sure that what they believe in, or follow, or 'do', is exactly what God has ordained for them?

Some would argue that praying a certain number of times every day, at certain fixed times, means you are doing something 'good' or 'right' or are showing your 'obedience' to God... and God is happy with you and accepts your effort.

But don't we also see people kneeling and bowing down in prayer one minute, and then screaming bloody murder (or committing it) another minute?

Buddhists killing Muslims.

Muslims killing Christians.

Christians killing Jews.

Atheists killing the religious and the religious killing everyone.

Prayer produces peace in some, while no matter how much one repeats 'prayers' or recites certain phrases, Peace seems to be very far from them.

This is problematic, for some would argue that 'knowing' certain things is what would distinguish you from those who do not 'know'... and thus you could 'know God' by knowing certain things.

But this is what gnosticism and mysticism argues about, even philosophies absent the notion of 'God' praise this line of thinking, yet it can be argued that these efforts are found to be yet another esoteric effort to bring inside the logical efforts of the mind.

People seek transformation, and aside from surrendering to God all what you cognitively understand, the human effort may fall short God's calling... which is perfection.

But to split hairs isn't the effort, while some would demand it to be the very effort.

What can be understood by a child, and that child not being able to put it into words, is love.

What emanates from the hearts of the old and young alike, is love... and it can be felt with a glance, a smile, a word or two, or witnessing an action of love.

It is love that God places in the hearts of people... while many people go to great lengths to 'know' this God that gifts out love, they seem to fill their hearts and minds with information, but not with love.

And without this gift of love, no amount of external (or internal contemplation) will render the peace that this love provides.

May the God of love bless you, the reader, with this gift of love... and may this love overflow onto those near and far from you.

08 December 2016

One 2 One

Romans 2

Where do we find mutual understandings without contentious rivalries?

In practically every social dynamic on earth, from family groups to international political circles.

Unity despite apparent differences are found in religious, secular and professional groups.

Where do we find misunderstandings full of contentious rivalries?

In practically every social dynamic on earth, from family groups to international political circles.

Division despite apparent likenesses are found in religious, secular and professional groups.

Having unity although being different, or staying indifferent while ignoring the unifying realities, comes down to the individual's choice.

You choose to be united or divided.

You choose to keep your arms opened or closed.

Consider how you would like to see God's arms when you meet Him; opened or closed to you?

The ability or inability to hold what is more in common while patiently working through what is different, without being at violent odds with the other person, comes down to the individual.

Pride, arrogance, jealousy, ignorance and many other factors blind those who think they 'see', and reinforce what has always been held (in pride) 'ruth' as any given group of ideologues would believe.

Some people never break out of the ignorant notions of “family first, there is no such thing as a friend” or “they are not ______ (fill in your ideological brand), or something similar.

For most people, their tribal affiliation as attached to religious, political, social, ethnic or other type of exterior affiliation, forever keeps them locked in a mindset that prevents them from seeing themselves in others not of their group.

Their landscape is already predetermined by what has been fed to their minds and hearts, or what they consistently feed themselves as adults.

It is a form of idolatry.

I think it is about time contentious issues be put aside, and the agreeable things be highlighted and built upon between those who perceive themselves to be of different groups within all of these ideologies that people have made up for themselves.

For some who identify with being a Christian (follower, student, one who is one with Christ), it would be difficult to tell they actually loved others (including their enemies) by the way they talk and act towards others.

The same can be said of any other social group (religious, political, ethnic, etc.).

Instead of seeing soon-to-be-brothers-in-Christ, some see people who are not 'labeled' according to a likable label.

And when looking into groups that closely resemble themselves, they instead see even more labels.

This is where the term 'catholic' can be closely looked at aside from the typical suspicions people have.

Catholic:

adjective

- (especially of a person's tastes) including a wide varieties of things; all-embracing.

synonyms: universal, diverse, wide, broad, eclectic, comprehensive, all-inclusive.

I'm not promoting any particular brand, group or label, but calling people to look beyond the obvious.

The Word of God declares there is only one faith, one church, one body of believers, etc., yet it is called by several terms, such as the “Church of Christ”, “Church of God”, “household of God”, and several other terms.

One can conclude that there wasn't a particular label or brand that God initiated, aside from 'maybe' “disciple” for an individual to assess themselves.

Disciple simply means: a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher.

Would simply labeling yourself a “disciple of ______” (fill in your favorite whoever) mean you actually are such a thing?

Yet, what we see is people's minds magnetized to narrow ideologies instead of the all-encompassing manner the Gospel's message asks of the believer.

Petty minds and hearts with little love argue over words, while hearts and minds that God has touched are always being amazed by what God has done, allowed and established.

These latter minds are always searching for God in every and all things, even in people who others have forsaken as “lost” or “condemned”.

Approaching the world as God intended, not as men have perceived, one is able to see themselves in the individual who looks very different on the outside (their clothes, mannerisms, ethnicity).

Loving others according to how God has made / allowed them to be, the follower of God can extend their love to those who are perceived as different.

The follower of Christ can offer their service and friendship to that individual... even if / when that individual is hostile in their hearts towards the follower of God.

This reality exists in people of the several walks of life found on the earth, even the myriad of religious perceptions, who have learned to look past their typically ill-perceived perceptions.

Now in the age of mass consciousness where an idea, message and notion can travel around the world in an instance, faith can be sparked in people who may still hold onto their perceived identities, while Christ grows in their hearts as a seed germinates and grows without human observation or perception.

Consider how a brother and sister may grow up with the same parents and experiences, yet they may grow up with different perceptions of life and value systems.

These siblings never cease sharing the same lifeblood, yet it is their choice to love one another and work beyond their differences and stay family.

The same has been established on earth between people who may consider others not their family... the extended family and reality that we all grew from the same people long ago... and have been called to a unity as the one family we factually are.

05 December 2016

Connecting Wind, Life & People Through RC Planes

Luke 16: 9

When I was a child traveling to the beach with my mother and sisters, I waited in anticipation for the few moments I'd get to see the remote control airplanes flying at the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The journey from our home to the beach was roughly 20 minutes, mostly on the freeway.

Summertime was beach time, practically every weekend.

We'd usually leave for the beach around lunchtime after church on Sundays.

The air in Huntington Park (southeast Los Angeles basin) would be warm and dry by the time we'd leave.

Sometimes my mom would make sandwiches, other times we'd change clothes at home after visiting a restaurant for brunch.

If we'd eat at the beach, sand would always find its way into my sandwich... and I'd wonder if there is a connection (sand-wich).

After about 15 minutes of travel time, the air temperature coming in through my mom's two-door 510 Datsun's windows would cool down quite considerably as we'd get closer and closer to the ocean.

The anticipation would build.

The 710 freeway has sections of slab, and I remember the rhythmically reverberating sound through the Datsun's tires.

By the time we were on Ocean Boulevard, it was a only matter of minutes until we'd drive by the eastern most section of Bluff Park where the RC pilots were flying.

For a few moments passing by at 35 mph, or if the traffic light happened to turn red prior to us arriving at Redondo Avenue, I would be able to gaze at the several planes on the grass and in the air.

I would be in awe, most likely talking my mom's ear off about how I yearned for one of those planes.

My dad was in the Air Force as a young man and has been around planes practically all his life (working with airplanes since a teenager), so in trying to emulate my dad and his interests, I too adopted planes as an interest.

I'm sure I had asked my mom about acquiring a plane at least a thousand times.

And when I would find them in the toy section of the JCPenney catalog, I wouldn't miss the opportunity of bringing them to her attention, and how easy JCPenney made it for me to have one.

It was, after all, her favorite department store.

But I think the cost was a be a bit too expensive for an adolescent to have such a toy; $300 or more.

Some years later as a pre-teen, I think my many pleas to her ears (I was reluctant asking my dad), I think she mentioned it to my dad.

He came home one day with an RC airplane for me.

I couldn't believe my eyes!

It was a gas powered plane that was quite pricey, even though it was an entry-level model.

I was warned by my dad not to attempt to operate or fly this plane on my own.

Losing a finger by a speeding propeller's blade was fear enough to keep me only looking at the plane.

My dad and I were only able to take the plane out to a flying field on two occasions.

He had an acquaintance who flew these as a hobby and I wasn't too sure that man was interested or had the patience to teach my dad or myself how to fly such a toy.

On our second excursion to the flying field, that man crashed the plane after only a few minutes of flying.

The crash nearly destroyed the aircraft and it was left in that condition by my dad, ending our remote control co-expedition for good.

I wasn't experienced enough to attempt a repair, and I guess my dad didn't have the time or motivation.

But my desire to have and enjoy the remote control flying experience never left me.

As fate (and my memory) would have it, it wasn't until my late 20's that I would buy and learn how to fly one of these toys.

But I didn't buy just one plane.

I bought one too many.

I was able to afford such expensive toys after successfully starting my own small business.

And after spending too much money on these planes, the large amount was motivation enough to push me to figure out how to turn this passion into a business... another another small business was born.

The flying was a wonderful respite from the stresses of life and personal struggles, keeping my mind focused on the plane, the wind, the atmosphere around me and the scenery... at the very same bluff I would look at from my mom's car window as a child.

I would eventually make friends at the bluff, and we'd share our joys of flying and other chatter, both significant and silly.

I made a new friend recently who also exclaimed how the flying of these remote control airplanes, especially the sailplanes along the bluff using only the wind as a power source (no motors), was a form of therapy for him while being stressed out trying to handle his small business.

We mutually agreed how the joy of flight absorbs our attention for maybe 30 minutes or an hour, and how such a draw of one's attention is actually a joyous challenge that only those who also fly can understand.

“Good clean fun” another new friend states, expressing his desire to one day enjoy the fun of flying these 'toys for big boys'.

04 December 2016

The Case Of The Missing Body


Contemporary scholars (secular and religious) have reached near-absolute consensus regarding the death and burial of Jesus of Nazareth.

The few who have yet to acquiesce to the acknowledgement that Jesus died do so perhaps out of religious / irreligious bias and to avoid a possible identity crisis.

It is very difficult to argue against a factual historical event when both biased and unbiased sources agree to Jesus' death having actually occurred.

From the Christian perspective, Jesus' death is one of the pillars of the Gospel's testimony.

This is why I don't think it necessary to reference the many Gospel, Church Letters, or Christian-centered historical sources in this article aside from the one included at the end of the article.

Tacitus was a 1st century Roman historian who mentioned Jesus having “...suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of...Pontius Pilatus...

Other secular 1st century reports exist, but for the sake of simplicity, I include Tacitus while the others can be further researched.

Ancient Jewish accounts also attest to Jesus having been killed.

In a teaching from prior to end of the 2nd century, an excerpt from the Babylonian Talmud reads “...on the eve of Passover they hanged Jesus the Nazarene...”

Three distinct and separate groups agreed to the event; Romans, Jews and Christians.

Not that consensus of all parties concludes a truism or a fact, but we the three in agreement and not raising doubt or highlighting any reason to doubt the event.

Motivation should be considered when something is accepted, believed, disbelieved or denied.

The Christian sources have their obvious motivation, but what of 1st century Rome when the church was nothing more than a scattered and non-influential group?

What would be the motivation for the Roman state to further Jesus' death, or deny it?

What would be the Jewish motivation in the 1st and 2nd centuries?

The importance of the topic of Jesus' factual death (and burial) is of utmost importance for our fellow brothers and sisters around the world who have been raised believing a misinterpretation of this testimony; namely the fellow citizens of planet earth who currently identify as Muslims AND do not understand the full testimony of Jesus.

I use the word 'misinterpretation' because even certain notable Islamic scholars, while still identify as Muslim, have also realized the historicity and factualness of Jesus' death.

Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub writes:
“The Quran, as we have already argued, does not deny the death of Christ. Rather, it challenges human beings who in their folly have deluded themselves into believing that they would vanquish the divine Word, Jesus Christ the Messenger of God. The death of Jesus is asserted several times and in various contexts.” (3.55; 5.117; 19.33.)
Reading the first cited Quranic verse by Mr. Ayoub:
Recall what time Allah said: O 'Isa! [Jesus] verily I shall make thee die, and am lifting thee to Myself and am purifying thee from those who disbelieve, and shall place those who follow thee above those who disbelieve until the Day of Resurrection; thereafter unto Me shall be the return of you all, then I shall judge between you of that wherein ye were wont to differ. - al-Imran 55 (Daryabadi translation)
According to context and its form, isn't al-Imran 55 mentioning when Jesus was on earth and about what will happen, namely death and then Jesus returning to / into God's presence?

The second part then speaks of the return of all people at the judgment, correct? (keyword “thereafter”)

We see two different points and times being expressed; present when Jesus walked the earth (which includes death and returning to God), and “thereafter” when humanity returns to God and is judged.

The Quranic verse which (again according to misinterpretation) 'seems to' contend against the crucifixion / death of Jesus is:
And for their saying: verily We have slain the Messiah 'Isa [Jesus] son of Maryam, an apostle of Allah, whereas they slew him not, nor they crucified him but it was made dubious unto them. And verily those who differ therein are in doubt thereof, they have no knowledge thereof; they but follow an opinion; and surely they slew him not. - an-Nisa 157 (Daryabadi translation)
According to context and its form, isn't an-Nisa 157 mentioning the boasting of men who thought they accomplished killing Jesus?

What is quite remarkable is that this verse 157 is quoting the Jewish community, which is in agreement with the Jewish and Roman citations in this article (and of course the Christian testimony).

What else can be gleaned from verse 157?

The proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus!

The verse isn't disputing Jesus' death, but confirming Jesus' resurrection!

Consider this; verse 157 mentions the opinion of men having killed Jesus completely, while also testifying that their opinion was wrong.

In Islam, Jesus is called the “Spirit of God” and also the “Word of God”.

Is it possible for men to kill the Spirit of God or the Word of God?

If not, then isn't it possible that only the vessel / body containing the Word and Spirit of God was killed and 'died' on the cross?

Much how a body is lifeless without a spirit, when the Spirit of God departed the body of Jesus, the body was left dead... confirming both al-Imran 55 and an-Nisa 157.

So is it possible that Jesus both died AND also went into heaven after the vessel / body was resurrected?

Both Islam and Christianity proclaims Jesus to be alive Today and residing in heaven.

The Christian testimony claims Jesus died... and then rose to life.

The Roman historical record testifies to Jesus dying... not mentioning resurrection.

The Jewish testimony also states Jesus dying... and speaks of other things.

The contention between the faithful and the doubters is that Jesus did NOT rise again.

The the fact that Jesus died is actually not the issue... yet this has become a conjecture and divisive issue after the fact.

The issue of his death did not come into contention until legend circulated among fringe heretical communities (groups who didn't last long), and people who doubted the testimony and instead followed opinions.

One example of a possible source of such heretical premises being Docetism, among other misunderstandings derived from other long extinct groups.

Is it then so difficult to believe someone would die and then come back to life?

The miracles of Jesus having resurrected the vessels / bodies of a little girl and a friend named Lazarus are attested to in both Christianity and Islam, while similar miracles are also mentioned in the Jewish texts following from the common era.

For the believer in a God who can do as he pleases, nothing is too difficult for God to do.

The further explanations and details of Jesus not personally dying on the cross are actually not found in the Quran.

These ideas are found in the extracurricular writings by men who seem to have interpreted and suggested as to 'how' things happened or didn't happen.

For a list of historical events secular scholars have found consensus with regarding Jesus, see this link.

For an exhaustive explanation of how the death of Jesus is understood in Islam, and the contending views since Muhammad's time from within the Muslim community, see this link.

As with anything found on the internet, whether open-sourced or officially published, proper citations should be noted, motivation considered, and attention to biased perceptions taken into account.
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Yeshua Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Yeshua’s sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Yeshua’s sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the One who raised the Lord Yeshua from the dead will also raise us with Yeshua and present us with you to Himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 
- 2 Corinthians 4

01 December 2016

The Light Shines

Proverbs 4: 18-19

The apologetic discourses justifying war, fighting, violence and strife are extensive and exhaustive from all religious entities, Christianity included, with no need to mention Islam and the rest of the religious landscape.

How can I also include Christianity in such a seemingly polemical statement?

If war, or violence / fighting was a blessed activity of God, then not only would Christ have perhaps done such things, but surely His disciples would have been found committing such acts.

But no such thing is found for the 300 years the faith was persecuted by that time's empire, the Roman state.

You can read for yourself the many dogmatic opinions, from either Catholic or Protestant leaning groups, justifying war by weaving in and out of what was old (the prior covenant of 'eye for an eye') and the new (the covenant of grace where all begins and ends with love).

The blending of the two covenants is a plague on the understanding of peace and what God has established through Christ and His earthly kingdom.

It is one thing to be encouraged by the Psalms, Proverbs and to learn from the character challenges of Israel as a community, or how that would pertain to us as individuals, or some king or character from the ancient times.

It is another thing to mix in the old with the new, the law (and consequence) with the age of truth and grace.

To revert back to hating, or justifying violent acts on others, is to fall back from faith into the works of the law... and no one is justified by the law (the works of the law).

Christ fulfilled the lust of man's nature to return harm for harm done, and the impossible feat of obeying perfectly all the requirements of the Law so we may be free to love others, even those who think themselves to be our enemies.

When this miracle was accomplished, Christ established a New Covenant built upon love, forgiveness, peace and patience... with war and violence (even self defense) NEVER being part of the teaching of righteousness.

No such notion exists in the New Testament testimony nor in early church history.

Instead, we see martyrs.

We see men praying for peace and staying at peace with all who opposed them.

And when geography would not allow for peaceful means, the peaceful moved away... and the Gospel continued to spread!

There is a prophecy of old regarding the Messiah's kingdom triumphing over all kingdoms of men.

One physical 'tell' of this coming to pass was when the church triumphed over the secular state.

A crowning achievement on earth was realized.

But does God need or use the physical world to do the work of His Spirit?

Did such a moment in history 'need' to occur in order for God to forward His invisible kingdom on earth?

Of course not... but God seems to make things evidently clear where denying such realities would be cause to question the mental stability in a denier.

It was not until some wayward individuals that made their way into church leadership that we read the beginnings of war justifications and further atrocities.

Yet was God righteousness and His righteous teaching removed from the hearts of the faithful and those who have His law written on their hearts?

Never.

We have many testimonies of men who did not agree with the 'just wars' of the church, and some of these were also tortured for their faith and convictions.

Can the dogmatic writings of men abrogate the message from Above?

Can men actually change the testimony of Truth?

Some would have you believe so, but this man calls such ideas a strong deception beckoning your flesh's acknowledgment, while asking the deposit of Spirit within the faithful to look the other way.

Such temptations of the flesh only speak what man's nature can conceptualize and logically agree to, but no where is love more ignored, and the call of righteousness as Christ exemplified more denied.

To “love your enemy” is ludicrous to the mind and heart that considers this world their home, their only reality, regardless of that heart's religious leanings.

It takes great faith to love an enemy.

It takes no faith to hurt another human being.

Religions teach men to hurt others, or even kill them, for all the reasons in the world (self defense being an easy one), but we see Christ crucified and Christ going to death, the righteous for the unrighteous.

We see absolute obedience and faith in God when looking at Christ, and even very decent examples in the likes of Paul, Peter and many upon many martyrs still being slain Today as they obey love and peace above their carnal struggles.

And to those who consider any form of violence as an act “in the way of God”, sadly they have yet to taste the fruit from Above, see the light that shines within.

Such a religious zealot has yet to realize 'who' and 'what' Christ is for them.

30 November 2016

Nearsighted Identifiers From The Past


I personally, physically and spiritually belong to a 'tribe' that transcends an adequate definition.

In order to properly define an ideology that clarifies an identity, I've had to first empty myself of the several man-made ideas attached to faulty and limited ideologies.

If I were to attach myself to the default notions, I may argue I am an American.

How so?

Simply because I was born on a landmass currently called “the United States of America”?

But my parents were born in Cuba and emigrated here.

Can I then call myself a “Cuban”?

Before that island was 'named' “Cuba”, what was it? or what were the people there called?

Since some native-to-the-island blood runs within me, do I identify with those extinct people?

They were most likely part of the Taíno people who settled there prior to the Spanish arriving.

Does a name, or title, truly define who a person is?

What of my Spanish ancestry?

Can I claim to be a far disconnected Spaniard?

Is there Spanish royalty in my past I don't yet know about?

What then of the likelihood of Arabic blood that made its way into Spanish territories?

Can I then claim descendancy from some Semitic tribe that sojourned in the peninsula for centuries?

What before that?

If all this can be proven, all the way back to whomever, into the B.C. era or further back to Mesopotamia or whatever, what would it mean?

What would any of this information mean now in this time, day and age?

Since science shows we all hail from the same matrilineal line, what does that mean?

It means we are all related; brothers, sisters and distant cousins only separated by time, distance and the thoughts programmed onto our minds and hearts.

Why do people attach an identity to themselves from what people popularly call a piece of land?

Are we derived from the dirt of any given place?

What if I was born at home, or in a tomato patch my mom came to rest while in the throws of labor because she was unable to make it inside the house... or born at a local hospital?

Would I be called some kind of tomato or whatever type of fertilizer used for the tomatoes?

What are the things we draw an identity from, and why?

I was actually born in a hospital called “Queen of Angels”.

Should I then be called “he who was born from the Queen of Angels” or something similar?

This argument can surely be made, looking at maternal origins in regards to spiritual realities.

But really now.

What does such information gain for me personally?

Something that I can take pride in, something to stick my nose up in the air about.

Does such information grant me a privilege if I'm a horrible person to others?

Would I be justified being a horrible person before others simply because I can prove some heritage that means something to me and / or others?

There was a time when such claims did 'mean' something, for they were pointing to who was king or was to be King over all.

And that time has come and passed... but not all yet understand or believe.

May we hold to what is more important; our unified identities as children of God, made and continually molded in His image.

The Son is the image of the invisible God.

May the walls built in our minds (and hearts) come down, granting us light that brings us into unity with God... for He is One, so may we be one.

29 November 2016

Islam's Covenant Perspective

Psalm 107

I read through a scholarly work regarding Islam's concept of “covenant” recently.

I was searching to find if the Quran, or its interpreters since Muhammad, ever taught or introduced a covenant in the fashion as it's understood in the Bible (Old and New Testaments / Covenants).

Spiritual covenants throughout the ages have been established, completed, expanded upon, etc., with each subsequent covenant growing and further entrenching God's relationship and commitment to mankind and what was expected in return.

All covenants, having been revealed to a particular lineage of men and their descendants, have included either specific people or all of humanity (Noah's covenant contrasting Abraham's covenant).

What I found is that Islam's traditional perspective and interpretation of God establishing a covenant with mankind began with Adam and is very unique in its perception.

Adam and his yet-to-be-born progeny was, in the spirit (physically unborn / before creation), called to confirm their acknowledgement of God and their submission / obedience to Him.

The Islamic concept of a long train of prophets imparting a message to mankind is not understood as building upon a legacy as established through a particular family group (as expressed in the Bible).

Instead, the prophets were reminders assisting the wayward, calling them to return to this initial conversation with Adam (and his progeny).

Very much like the accounts of the prophets prior to Israel's expulsion from the land, warning of dire consequences for years of trespass.

The covenant concept in Islam is simple with few precepts, referring primarily to Adam's covenant, then to whichever secondary covenant was 'revealed' through whichever prophet at any point in time... reminding people of the primary covenant with Adam.

This difference in perspective helps both Muslims and non-Muslims understand traditional Islamic concepts of how Muslims view themselves and those outside their culture / religion.

The understanding is distinct.

I didn't find any distinguishing between what is considered the several covenants (growing and evolving) from Noah to Christ, for example, or the mentioning of covenant fulfillment Christ taught, nor the covenant Christ established.

What is repeated is the public ritual of prayer, of almsgiving, and other religious tenets.

I think this reality speaks to a concept that has been built from oral traditions over the ages peoples not having what the Hebrews had; namely the law, the prophetic legacy, the detailed writings of the testimonies, temple worship, etc..

What is found is something that seems to be on its own as far as interpretations of God's relationship with mankind goes.

What is understood from the Abrahamic tradition according to Judaism is defined by the vast written account.

There seems to be a void regarding specific covenant requirements and details in Islam regarding what came before it, although Islam claims to complete, correct and codify all form of religious traditions that preceded it.

This conclusion isn't surprising.

God spoke personally with and to specific people whose testimonies were kept among the lineage known as Hebrews, and none other.

The texts of the New Covenant were initially only found with those encircled in the Way, with imitations and forgeries being obvious to the learned... besides the teachings being initiated orally and placed on the hearts in a most simplistic manner and law: Love God above all and love others, even so-called enemies.

For more about the concept of covenant found throughout ancient times and its factual application in today's secular societies, read this thorough historical encyclopedic entry.

28 November 2016

Forever Young


God bless and keep you always 
May your wishes all come true 
May you always do for others 
And let others do for you 
May you build a ladder to the stars 
And climb on every rung 
May you stay forever young 
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young. 
May you grow up to be righteous 
May you grow up to be true 
May you always know the truth 
And see the light surrounding you 
May you always be courageous 
Stand upright and be strong 
May you stay forever young 
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young. 
May your hands always be busy 
May your feet always be swift 
May you have a strong foundation 
When the winds of changes shift 
May your heart always be joyful 
May your song always be sung 
May you stay forever young 
Forever young, forever young 
May you stay forever young. 
- Lyrics by Bob Dylan, Performed by Eric Weinberg

27 November 2016

Give Greater Gratuity

2 Thessalonians 1: 3-4

It is when having recovered from a severe cold or sickness that the individual reflects on their gratitude for breathing now with ease, walking now without pain and eating now without issue.

When times are great, rarely does one reflect on what is not usually called into question.

But when a sickness occurs, or something considered 'bad' happens, the heart begins to ponder beyond what is typically expected.

People usually have an expectation of 'good' things to happen, day after day.

Food being on the table, a roof overheard, a means to stay warm when it gets cold and to stay cool when it gets hot.

There are many criticisms for the modern world's trappings, but also many benefits that complainants usually take for granted.

Speaking to people who do not have running water, or potable water, or have to travel a long distance to bring home water than needs to be treated before being used, one can get a sense of gratitude for what has been established where they currently reside.

Maybe it isn't so much that healthy people take their health for granted, but that there isn't anything to complain or be worried about most of the time.

But oh how easy it is to complain about the little things, the insignificant and petty things.

Where there is a need or something to cause worry, consideration and gratitude may not be too far off.

Just as a change in health or an issue arising may cause a change in perspective, words also change over time, along with their meanings.

Etymology is a great word that explains what words currently mean and have previously meant.
The term 'gratuity' previously meant 'pleasing, thankful' when Latin was the predominant western language.

From here many other terms have been derived.

'Gratis' means 'free' and still means 'free' in Spanish.

Later Latin's 'gratuitus' (same word today spelled 'gratuitous') means 'done freely, without charge', similar to 'gratis'.

When looking at today's 'gratuity', the current meaning being 'tip, gift, reward' is now the thought of money given (to a server) above the restaurant's bill has developed.

To me, it seems that the worded idea of being grateful has gone beyond a sentiment and has turned into an action.

The term 'grateful' has its Latin origin with 'gratus', earlier 'grate'.

'Grateful' currently means 'feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful'.

We see in many instances gratitude being played out in a physical effort; people expressing their gratitude by what they do besides what they say.

These and other words began from a root and blended into certain specific meanings, yet these meanings have migrated into further explanations of the same meaning, or quite a bit different meaning.

Cultures play a role in the mutation of the meanings of words.

I can't help but notice how gratitude has spilled over into good works, being now something beyond a verbal expression or internal sentiment, but a manifested sense of gratuity.

24 November 2016

Grateful Every Day

Genesis 9: 12-17

What is the term holiday?

A different way to spell holy day?

What is holy, and to whom would such a thing be considered 'holy'?

Are holy days reserved only for certain occasions made 'official' by men, or someone else?

Is not every single day a holy day unto the Lord?

Some people go to ( or have ) 'church' every single day... but maybe not as you would suppose.

For some people, all things are holy when they consider such notions.

For the person who is every day grateful for their health and their very existence, they are apt to give God thanks every single day, every hour, every moment of their waking hour.

For the person who has healed from something severe, and the nagging pains are gone, they may commemorate that day as a day to remember.

My wife commemorated such a day when the Lord completed His healing from her body of leukemia.

It was an 18 month process from the day she was diagnosed to the day all traces of cancer were gone.

Yet the cure came through natural and supernatural means, not according to the treatments of 'modern medicine'.

Her faith, and what God has already provided on earth, brought the cure.

Whether this day my wife remembers is celebrated by others is of no concern to her.

For that day reminds her of God's faithfulness, of His power, His love and how even in a time of fear and a health scare, God was still at work forwarding His good purpose.

For the religious, they demand a certain day to be considered holier than another day.

Certain activities would be promoted, others denied.

Rules are followed, rituals kept and all others not participating are judged.

But it seems there is a message about looking beyond arguing over any particular day to call 'holy'.

Are holidays made by the secular state 'bad' and those found in religious context 'good'?

Are some being judged for not eating a turkey today in America?

Are others being judged because they do eat turkey?
Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. 
One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 
- Romans 14: 4-6
There are many reasons to be grateful to God for what we have ( life / existence ).

Every day is a miracle when considering the perfect and fragile balance life on earth truly is.

The Way of righteousness is not about food or any particular day, but so much more.

Yet let us be patient with those who still have to hold onto exterior methods to realize the inner Mystery.

Let peace reign in your souls, your hearts and your minds... for the kingdom is truly within.

22 November 2016

[Re]Framing The Mind

1 Timothy 4: 4

I had a recent conversation with some friends at a local watering hole I frequent (coffee shop).

It is a homogenous demographic for the most part (retired, male, north and western European ancestry, from pensioners to millionaires).

Weaving in and out of political topics and local musings, as we usually do, the topic of healthcare and health insurance came up.

Much of the same arguments and talking points heard from the news media were mentioned.

It isn't easy to pull oneself away from the rhetoric, whether hearing it first-hand from the media, or second-hand through another person.

I am not immune to such programming, although I think I try my best to look past this programming to find a semblance of objectivity.

I recall the message of a linguist who teaches about how propaganda frames the debate.

Once the goal posts of debate are mentioned (the left vs right paradigm continually repeated, for example), the passive listening audience rarely thinks beyond this frame of mind, but stay safely speaking only what they've heard from the 'experts'.

At the 'round' table of discussion with my friends, I tell a short story of a friend of mine who owns his own business.

This friend began to experience pressure in his chest and called an ambulance (he was at home).

He doesn't have insurance, but simply pays out of pocket if / when something demands he visits a hospital / doctor.

Nothing serious came about from the chest pressure, perhaps it was anxiety, stress or what he ate that morning.

But what did almost cause my friend to have a heart attack was the bill he received from the short ambulance ride to the hospital.

The itemized bill had charges for turning on the flashing lights, the screaming sirens, each paramedics hourly (or part thereof) rate, the use of the ambulance and many other specific things.

One cost of service that stuck out in my mind.

The cost of the bandaid that held the intravenous needly in his arm to feed him that clear juice from an elevated bag.

Would you like to guess how much that single bandaid was charged to my friend?

$100.00.

One hundred dollars!

That must have been the strongest, longest lasting, most resilient bandaid ever made in the history of the world!!

It must be able to withstand a nuclear strike and then a warm ten minute bath.

Seriously, a $100.00 for something that really costs pennies to make?

I understand about turning a profit for those in a position to do so.

But where is the consideration of ethics?

There is a legal phrase that adequately speaks to this: Unjust Enrichment.

THIS is the reason health insurance is so expensive.

THIS is the reason that the entire medical field, built upon loose monopolies, is so expensive.

One of the gentleman at the 'round' table asked if I didn't want doctors to earn a living.

There is big difference between a wage that compensates the demands of someone's talents and skills.

There isn't a limit to such value.

But, considering the business of human health, being monetized as has every other single thing on this planet, a hundred dollar bandaid is cause for concern.

The windfall of profit to whomever charges $100.00 for a $0.10 bandaid is the fraud and greed in taking advantage of people.

And it is THIS issue that is RARELY brought up in the propaganda news media.

Instead, fear is marketed in those disgusting drug commercials... so you can run to your doctor and get a prescription.

People place their hope and faith in the hands of men who are looking to get paid instead of looking to actually cure people.

One can't actually blame a doctor who is subject to the greater mechanism of the business of human healthcare.

Treatments are administered, and cures are ignored... for there is no profit in curing people, but much profit when simply 'treating' people and keeping them coming back.

The natural world already provides many of the cures for the human body, since they are symbiotic in their very nature in how they were created... but do not expect cures when applying synthetic machinations made from man's hands.

Do not expect an industry that enriches the wealthy according to business models (the thought of human health as a business is disgusting) and not according to healing solutions to forgo their interest.

Peruse the long list of developing [re]discoveries of what has already been provided for mankind at this arguably legitimate source.

21 November 2016

What Came First: The Chicken Or The Egg?

Revelation 11: 15

What came first: the chicken or the egg?

Either answer demands a clear explanation... yet complications arise while aiming at simple answers.

Science desires to theorize life on earth, and how it came about, having derived from a single-celled amoeba of sorts... having come to exist by mere chance.

This single and simple living thing would eventually 'evolve' over many years of mutations into all other living things on the planet excluding plants... while some simple amoebas would still exist.

If all living things undergo evolution and mutation, why do these simple life forms still exist?

Wouldn't have they 'evolved' from their primitive and simple state?

Looking at evolution and mutation, there seems to be a developing paradox regarding these two notions.

It seems that science has discovered the vast majority of mutations are detrimental; about 99% of mutations are “bad”. (see pages 54, 55 and 56)

The idea that the vast majority of mutations have evolved constructively and positively into producing the vast array of complex life we see on earth is, well, in sharp contrast with the current theory of evolution (I say).

What should be evident according to that theory AND the scientific reality in mutations would be the production of many adversely mutated animals.

But this is not the case... instead there are anomalies and not an abundance of adverse life.

To quote from the University of California Berkeley website:

“Mutations are essential to evolution; they are the raw material of genetic variation. Without mutation, evolution could not occur.”

What it seems to be, according to my eyes, is that we see very specific selections of the genetic code... and only very unique and a very small amount of mutations actually providing a 'good' adaptation.

Evolution is indeed evident, but evolution alone doesn't provide adequate answers that speak to what further science discovery is revealing.

The mutation factors being one issue.

Here is where an Intelligent Design does explain how, among an ocean of bad mutations that would lead to dead ends, the crème de la crème rises to the surface again and again.

This suggestion isn't simply throwing one's hands into the air in wishful thinking and calling “intelligent design” where a scientifically viable answer doesn't exist.

The scientific answer has existed, but not according to acceptable social norms of academia.

This suggestion speaks to the fragile and improbable sustainability of life on a planet that is the perfect distance from the sun providing for the proper amount of light, heat, evaporation and ever-working and ever-regenerating closed systems of life.

Why do some people dismiss the realities when science describes them as somewhat meaningless?

Why, as some minds delve into the very fabric of life (invisible and visible, material and immaterial) portray a static salad of terms that have appointed thoughts to concepts, but have been emptied of the amazing?... or providing sensible answers.

I think it takes effort (and a certain amount of 'belief') to accept the argument of insignificance through the dry eyes of science than it takes to elaborate on how very significant, and very purposed, all of observable life truly is.

The bridge between evolution and design, between static science and ritual religion, between one side of the mind and the other... is at hand.

19 November 2016

The Earth Is One As We Are One

The Most Interesting Realities In The World

I have an inclination that the U.S. federal government allows immigration, whether 'illegal' or otherwise, in order to sustain profitability for businesses both large and small.

But not every immigrant, undocumented or with visa in hand, is 'equal' regarding their mind's landscape.

Consider the jobs currently occupied by those willing to work for near peanuts.

Would such jobs be later occupied by stateside citizens if all low-wage immigrants were to depart (be departed / deported)?

Wouldn't the newly hired citizens seek unions, stand on their rights reserved, and demand a wage compatible with the inflation rate?

How would such realities affect many businesses who currently depend on low labor wages?

Why have so many jobs / companies taken their operations internationally?

These answers are self-evident if we take a break from the mass media programming lies onto our subconscious.

If only we can look past the framed narratives the media programs, and actually 'see' what has always been in place... and why.

Is the American Dream only a nationalistic ideal?

Hasn't the American Dream been a major export onto the minds of all other countries outside the U.S.?

Have you noticed the cultures of the world converging onto the western model?

American cinema, media and foreign policy has exported the ideals the typical Amerikan citizen easily dismisses in exchange for their current pet consumer item.

But sadly, the news media, and the plethora of fake news websites, have done a masterful job of further confusing an easily instigated population of the sheeply-minded.

Such confusion causes division, instead of agreement on our mutually already agreed upon likenesses.

Many are the hired hands, the bad managers, the selfish persons taking advantage of the system of propaganda.

Being led to blame those outside your tribe is an archaic method to sow indifference and blame-shifting.

But Whose tribe do we truly belong to?

Ask any reasonably minded person the world over what their heart's desires are.

You'll see they are very much aligned with your desires... only the manner in explaining the desires may vary.