Tolerating the intolerant.

Over the past few days as the events within this freedom loving country of ours takes the news by storm evolving and escalating to the point that even those who do not keep-up with the news as our busy life demands upon our time, know once civil society is getting out of hand into the weird.  Most likely, you’ve heard about the student uprisings on college campuses demanding a complete stop to offensive behavior and/or speech. One event recently captivated my attention that sums up all the others. A Wooster college in Ohio sit in, students taking over Galpin Hall on January 24, 2018.

“The students demand that all new students and faculty be required to enroll in a ‘cultural competency training course’ that will begin during orientation week and continue throughout the whole first year. The Center of Diversity and Inclusion will determine the content of this training course, but it must be submitted to the student activists for review at least once a year.” [a]

Hmm? And here I had thought that the American civil behavior toward each other was already an ingrained part of cultural competency was based on the Judeo-Christian admonition that we must treat others the way we would like to be treated. On the most part we were kind, considerate, respectful, easy going, saying ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘is there anything I can do’, opening the door for the elderly and ladies, patiently waiting in line, preferring others the right of way, putting a check on our tongue during family gatherings and the office coffee break, respecting the property of others, politely disagreeing without being disagreeable and on and on we’d act day-in day-out.

Perhaps I’ve been wrong and that there’s another side to: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matt 7:12

Now the student’s demand “safe zones”, a nice quiet place where they can feel safe from unwanted interruptions, conversations, some zones even offering coloring books and crayons to help escape the bigotry of others. Bigotry is defined as: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Hmm? So, as a Christian if I stand by and say anything whatsoever about my faith which you disagree with then I’m guilty and intolerant, I’m silenced and found guilty being punished for “hate speech”, and you’ll go to a safe zone to recuperate.  Just yesterday, a creationist speaker was dis-invited to speak on campus. Evidently his talk would have been offensive. A mayor has issued subpoenas of the sermons of the local pastors in case any kind of “hate speech” was involved.

Is society now facing a new ‘social revival’ of sorts.

Does this current generation look at America as having a long history of bigotry?  Yes, you can say that America has a history of being bigoted toward others not of their own kind.

The US was established as a democratic-republic based on Judeo-Christian morality of right and wrong, but our actual history has been filled with intolerance. Our frontiersmen pushed the natives out as our expansion into the west developed. The Indians were not wanting to be engaged with the ‘white man’ and his ways. The same was true for the millions of Europeans immigrating here: Scandinavians found other Scandinavians to live near. Italians desired to live near other Italians, the Jews with the Jews. The same with the French, the Germans, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. They tolerated others but desired companionship of their own kind. It was part of the American dream: one nation under God, indivisible and with liberty to all. Tolerating the others while desiring fellowship with their own kind rather than forced diversity.

America does have a long history of bigotry toward “blacks, or people of color” being brought here and sold as slaves to the land owners in the south and the rich of the north. The free ones in the north expanding westward sought to live near and with their own kind. The southern states forced total separation, which did not end until Lincoln signed the bill officially ending slavery and ML King gave his famous speech. It was bigotry. It was intolerance. But haven’t we moved on from there?

Both sides of my parents were Swedish immigrants. At first we lived near other Swedes and went to a dominate Swedish church, then moved to a varied neighborhood where the high school in the 50’s of Chicago had been integrated with a few ‘black’ students living in near-by neighborhoods. That was my first encounter with those of dark colored skin and we behaved in school with tolerance; some playing football or basketball and in the band. Back in those days there were a few students who just didn’t fit the boy hormones of flirting with girls. They walked and talked differently without any outwardly shown affections for boys instead of girls. We’d quietly snicker ‘queer’. It was a considered a private matter.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Now it’s common to see integrated marriages, neighborhoods, schools and churches. Europeans with Asians, blacks with whites, browns with blacks, with Asians. Families with mixed children. Mixed together tolerating all. The brotherhood of man, as Christianity says all humankind came from the same heritage going back to the first male and female through the lines of Noah and his family; middle-eastern Arabs. Our differences are only outward appearances in skin tone and facial make-ups, that’s all, simply a fact of mixing biological genes over the centuries.

Yes, America does have a long history of intolerance towards those of a different shade and we’ve come a long way to overcome those prejudices. Now there’s this new side that is being highlighted, that of the intolerances toward the LGBT’s demanding complete open tolerance of their life choices and doing away with what they call as ‘white-privilege’. Elementary Schools are telling the kiddies that having two daddies, or two mommies is normal, that’s it’s natural for a boy to dress like a girl if that is her desire and wanting to use the girl’s locker room is fine, and even competing against girls running track is wonderful.

And, another side to this upheaval is that of those desiring the right to abort the life growing within at any time for any reason. Sexual freedom outside marriage without consequences. It’s also been noted that less and less of the younger generations are attending church on a regular basis as evolutionary atheism gains more ground denying coaches pre-game prayer time with their team, denying students to hold bible studies outside class, denying parents to instill Christian ethics in their children.

So, where are we headed as a society?  How will the future look?

Computers and Creation

“You’re looking at the computer screen before you turn it on; it’s black, it’s nothing, just a blank screen. Was that how it was before the Almighty created light? You press the on button and that energy makes the screen come alive with the background you chose. You see the pictures or diagrams of your favorite places to go, waiting for you to point to it pressing the button on the mouse. Who created those icons? How did they get there? What makes it tick? If it’s overloaded or the devise is old, you may see a tiny blue circle going round and round.

“This entire physical universe is made up of millions and perhaps billions of trillions of configurations of those tiny atoms and molecules. That computer is made up of different configurations of the basics of 1 and 0, millions or billions of those two basics in different bunches create the pictures, the software, the games within that cell phone and computer. Someone, or the entire office full of programmers figured out how to do it. That computer did not fall into place over millions of years by random happenings of 1 and 0, the electrical current of a positive and negative, a yes or a no, it’s on or it’s off. Nope, a designer made it appear alive and do what it does when you press buttons, and there are certain rules you must follow and be mindful of to use it correctly.

“The same with this universe: a master designer had to do it and we must take to heart and apply those rules for us to live correctly as the designer programmed, or we just go round and round in circles.

“We want to solve our mysteries, but some will never be scientifically solved and we don’t like that.

Okay, the major question to these secular humanistic atheists is: how and where did that first physical molecule or atom come from? What caused those to expand into more, expanding into more? They say it was a big bang. Now a bang must have a force making something go bang. “Was there a time when it all began? There it is, the one element that’s missing in our deliberations: the concept of time. Time always moves. The clocks ticks. The sun and moon rise and disappear. The calendar changes. But, the almighty is beyond time, before time; therefore no beginnings, no endings, only now. Its something we can’t comprehend as we’ve been immersed in this time element with a beginning and an ending. Time was a brand new element from the first ray of light, just as this physical realm was a brand new element inside the spiritual.”

 

Copied from “Considering the Ant”. The novel by Arnold

December 25, 2017

On this day in history, time changed. Huh? What? Time just keeps going and going, one day after another, year after year we have birthdays counting how old we get. But yet, our historical calendar changed from counting the years to counting down to zero, and then counting up again. Wow, something must have happened. Alien space ships landing?

Have historians messed with our minds? A typist error not caught by Hallmark? Hollywood? The Media? The schools? This should be the year 8017 or something similar, right, as all calendars start at number one, at the beginning of life.

The difference points to one event recorded in history sometime over two thousand years ago pointing to a new boy being born to a couple who had not yet walked down the aisle. Boys and girls are born everyday to those who have made their vows and to those who have not and the kings, the magistrates, the historians over time don’t change the calendar just for them. What happened? Why was this kid so important?

Got to be something really special, outstanding of great importance to the entire world, for all cultures to change their calendars to the year one and start counting up again.

Yes, folks, you know the event. We’re celebrating it today.

The Supreme, Almighty God, creator of this Universe determined something must be done to change the attitude, the behavior of this part of living creation. Got to show these people a new beginning, a new hope, a new eternal salvation by sending one spiritual part to become a physical being like us, to be born like one of us, the mother experiencing the same pain and effort and then rejoicing and loving this new baby. The angels sang. The shepherds came.

Yes, history has changed. Jesus the Christ Savior was born.

Kris Kringle is coming to town

Ho, Ho. Ho, it’s time for Santa Claus to slide down the chimney neatly placing the last-minute gifts under the tree for the kiddies to excitedly tear into early Monday morning. Your sleep may be disturbed as the reindeer come to an abrupt stop on the roof. You’ve left gluten-free cookies and a can of Diet Pepsi for his nourishment of the long night travels from the north pole and around the world. Or, as it’s very cold and snowy outside, you may have left a shot of rum and a tub of hot chocolate.

Oh, but where did this traditional spirit of the holiday come from? And why?

This tradition had its start way back to what is now Turkey in the year 270, when a young man became rich from his father’s estate, who gave much of that to the homeless living on the street corners, to the poor children and to anyone in need which elevating him to fame. He secretly gave of his wealth wanting nothing in return ever conscious of the needs of others earning him the honor of a Saint of the Church. He was Bishop Nicholas.  During the council of Nicaea the church leaders were debating the nature of the trinity, when Nicholas slapped the face of another bishop who taught that Jesus was not equal with God the Father. The Roman ruler Constantine stripped Nicholas of his position and had him thrown in jail for such a breach of decorum.

As a bishop, Nicholas, servant of God, was first and foremost a shepherd of the people, caring for their needs. His active pursuit of justice for his people was demonstrated when he secured grain in time of famine, saved the lives of three men wrongly condemned, and secured lower taxes for Myra. He taught the Gospel simply, so ordinary people understood, and he lived out his faith and devotion to God in helping the poor and all in need. [1]

Another story of the life of Saint Nicholas goes like this:

There was a poor man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters could not marry. One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house. The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry. [2]

For several hundred years, circa 1200 to 1500, St. Nicholas was the unchallenged bringer of gifts and the toast of celebrations centered around his day, December 6. The strict saint took on some aspects of earlier European deities, like the Roman Saturn or the Norse Odin, who appeared as white-bearded men and had magical powers like flight. He also ensured that kids toed the line by saying their prayers and practicing good behavior.” But after the Protestant Reformation, saints like Nicholas fell out of favor across much of northern Europe.

In early America German and Austrian immigrants to America brought the name Kris Kringle (Christ King) to be the giver of gifts. [2]

Later on, some Dutch families gathered together on December 5th 1773,.to honor the anniversary of the death of “Sinter Klass”, their nickname for Saint Nicholas. [3]

In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” also known as “The Night Before Christmas.”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,

. . . . .

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

And on and on the legend grows over the years, adapts to new additions and traditions, to what we now have without a whimper: a grandfatherly figure with full beard dressed in red that’s trimmed in white fur, calf length black boots and wearing a red cap trimmed in white, now ringing the bell in front of stores from Thanksgiving on. Other Santa’s are at the mall having children sit on his lap whispering what they want for Christmas.

On the eve of Christmas, Santa is sitting in a sleigh pulled by Rudolf along with Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen, On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem; To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” and across the skies he goes bringing gifts to the well-behaved children because he knows who’s naughty or nice.

We do like our traditions.

So, what’s does all this have to do with the real reason of the season that’s buried under our beloved traditions?  God sent His Only Son to be born to the virgin Mary, in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. Since our lives are limited to this physical world, the creator Almighty God came to us: a human just like the rest of us, one who we could physically see, feel, hear, touch and smell. God’s act of redemption to all of humanity has begun with that Immaculate Conception of Jesus.

History has recorded it for us all.

Another scene we prepare for are the extended family gatherings, a time of refreshing memories, of good will to others, of blessing others with gifts, of the admiration of sparkling lights, of sending cards of Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. When that time of sitting at the dinner table comes, read together Luke 2:1-20.

 

[1] http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/bishop-of-myra/

[2] https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/fatherchristmas.shtml

[3] http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/santa-claus

[4] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131219-santa-claus-origin-history-        christmas-facts-st-nicholas/

Male and Female created He them.

You know the story. One human meets another human and through time they begin to love each other. The one proposes. The other accepts, and the date is set. Off they go for the union celebration and later a new human is brought unto them, who is nurtured, instructed and eventually leaves the first two, and the process starts again.  It’s been called multiplying the earth. After a period, the first two die leaving behind two generations related to the first.

Consider that the first two had 10 children and each of those had ten each, how many would be left after the first two died?  My math tells me there would 120 left in the family. Oh, how quickly the earth gets populated, and that’s just including the grandchildren of the first, perhaps just a 50-year period. Take it to the next generation.

God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply the earth.  And they did. Back in those days, many of the patriarchs lived a very long time according to our standards. Adam lived to be 930. Wow, how big did that family reunion become? All we are told is that after the birth of Seth, Adam was 130 years old and then Eve had sons and daughters. How many could that have been? 1 every 7 years. Only guess work. Say we cut him off at 800 years; 633 years left after Seth. Could have been 90. And then the possibility of twins in there somewhere. Just guess work since they did not leave a family album.

After Noah, the life spans of humans declined as this chart illustrates.

Life chart from Noah

Why the decline?

Well my hypothesis is that because of the disruption of the perfect garden, diseases slowly entered the genetics of humans altering the aging process.

And now, parents in the USA average 1.77 children.  China has been known to legally limit the number of children to just 1 per the female spouse. Will the process of multiplying the earth continue?

After the grandparents die, who and how many will be left to watch over and care for the next generation of grandparents? And the next? Many leaders and watchdogs promote the idea that the earth is over-populated causing a disruption in the eco-system because of the devastation these humans are causing the system, resulting in more deaths from hazardous chemicals and/or lack of sustaining chemicals. Therefore, you must limit the number of children being exposed to these changing environments even if it means destroying a fetus before it takes that first breath of air.

Do it, for the sake of the children.

But, if all limited the birth rate, then slowly there would be no one left to perform surgeries, to stock the shelves, to entertain, to educate, to tell us what happened yesterday, no one left to shovel the snow in the driveway, and on and on it goes, nothing left but dead battery robots.

Augustine and The City of God.

Somehow, a few months ago I was inspired to purchase the abridged (one volume of 549 pp) version of this historical Christian classic written over a three-year period in the early part of the 5th century.

Yes, I’ve been paging through and skipping some of this age-old classic along with some biographical information about Saint Augustine, when this hit me: “History was a neglected discipline in the later Roman Empire; the great historians of the past, Tacitus and Herodotus, were neglected, their writings used only as quarries for illustrations by the rhetoricians. The philosophy of the age was anti-historical, as if the end of history had arrived.” [1]

In this age of technology dominating our lives 24/7 who has time to read history. We look at the past as irrelevant to us because daily, we accomplish much more, so much easier, and traveling through the clouds, than having to work hard each day to put food on the table, to hunt and gather it, to keep the tent aired out, to find wood to burn to heat the coffee beans. As a student in our public-school system, all I remember of studying history was dates and names of the kings, rulers, tyrants defeating other kings, rulers, and tyrants in wars costing the lives of millions of other peasants, barbarians, subjects and soldiers.

We really haven’t changed much at all then.

But how did someone acquire so much knowledge and wisdom back in the days of riding camels, horses and trudging by sandals of leather, reading in the evening under the light of candles and sleeping on the ground inside a tent under sheep skins? Huh? How? Amazing isn’t it. The Bible itself did not become wide spread until the Gutenberg press was invented a thousand years after Augustine read the Latin papyrus scroll Old Testament and the Greek version of the New on parchment animal skin codex, and then becoming convinced that Christianity is real, is true, that the reality of all things is we are all descendants of Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife, that the Creator of all things insists that He alone be worshiped.

And now our hundreds of protestant denominations and the Roman Catholics argue about just that: how should we worship the creator of all things? What does it mean to worship? Do I have to give up something to worship, or is reading one of the current translations of the Bible for ten minutes each day enough? Is the Ten Commandments for us today or were they nailed to the cross and we’re free to do our own thing just so long as we treat others the same way we want to be treated?

The end of history has arrived, so relax as we’ll be out of here soon.

But now excuse me as I step on some toes, mine included.

Just like Adam and Eve, we desire the fruit of the garden of plenty by being glued to the Smart TV, posting an update on FB, a new message on the Smart Phone and catch up on the latest scores, political shenanigans and tomorrows weather on the computer.

“The attraction of leisure ought not to be empty-headed inactivity, but in the quest or discovery of truth, both for his own progress and for the purpose of sharing ungrudgingly with others. Nor should the man of action love worldly position or power (for all is vanity under the sun) . . . but . . .  of contributing to the eternal salvation of those committed to one’s care.”  P 461 City of God.

The tools we use is all that has changed, as now we are able to access all this history comfortably seated in a warm house by pressing carefully selected keys on a plastic keyboard.

 

  1. https://banneroftruth.org/us/resources/articles/2015/augustine-and-the-city-of-god/

Merry X-mas

Yes, that was the headlines the media besieged us with not that long ago.

Now it’s Happy Holidays.

The schools do not instruct the students that their coming time away from the classroom has something to do with the birth of the Savior, Jesus the Christ becoming one of us. No, that’s left up to the parents. We walk the malls and see tinsel, wreaths and green artificial trees decorated with balls of holly, and perhaps a store just might have a nativity set in the display window as we quickly pass by, or another may have boxes of miniature or large outdoor nativity sets for sale. Hallmark cards may have scenes of the nativity, may have Merry Christmas on the front with best wishes for the Holiday Season inside. The gift giving spirit has been dominating since Thanksgiving. We’ve purchased our live evergreen tree and carefully hung the hundreds of ornaments, wreaths and strings of lights blinking to one of a dozen patterns, and finally a star has been placed on top. We check the water daily. It’s ready for the presents, some held back for the kids to open the morning of the 25th.

xmastree-times-square-nyny
Times Square

Christmas themed movies appear throughout the cable guide devoted to an actor/actress achievement of their Santa wish: a long-ago love coming back into their life, the wish for the family reconciliation, a wish for this or that, one you secretly gave to the department store Santa years ago. All heartwarming stories that touch us. Some that are humorous. Clean wholesome movies the family can enjoy together.

Santa Claus is everywhere; ringing the bell in front of the grocery store, at the center of the department store, as another Santa in the center of the mall has children lined up ready to sit on his lap. Santa is selling cars, furniture, and cell-phones on TV.

Neighborhood homes have lights strung around the roofs, artificial snow and a full-sized snowman or Santa on a sleigh on the front lawn, some nativity sets here and there. On a roof is Rudolf leading the Santa sled with piles of presents. Churches have the nativity sets and a few here and there may have actors dressed as Joseph and Mary around the nativity scene. To attract the kiddies some may have Santa with a backpack filled with presents. This year the date falls on a Monday, so the churches will be full on Sunday enjoying the choir singing, the band may play Silent Night, and the pastor reads the story of the reason for the season. All is well, Jesus was born as a child in Bethlehem.

Yes, this is the Christmas season society has developed for us over the years.

In America, we have that freedom. Other places penalize Christmas displays of any kind.

Our creator God looked down upon this marvelous creation over the years interacting with various humans throughout our natural history for a way to redeem His most important part of creation. God saved Noah and his family from the wrath of the flood to start over desiring that they act according to the original idea of honoring the Creator and worshiping Him alone in spirit and truth. History records that we humans failed to obey those commandments again. So, the time has come, God declares one last act of compassionate mercy by sending a part of Himself to inhabit a human body, to live and grow up among other humans sharing in their lives, to teach and to demonstrate the majestic creative and sustaining powers to the likes of us all.

Since we are limited in our vision to this physical world, God became one of us.

We failed all in the past, so now this is the final gift, the last hope, a final way for His family of man to accept the loving merciful forgiveness of our sins of disobedience being redeemed and the gift of a new spiritual life to honor, worship and obey.

Merry Christmas.