Monday, December 12, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
The end comes for all things and strange as it may seem the end of Christian America, the end of what was once perhaps the greatest nation the world had ever known came at the hands of those who considered themselves the religious and patriotic leaders of an anarchistic, once grass-roots movement that was corrupted by a corporate mindset that bowed to no god, but that of money, greed and lust for power.
Nothing was too audacious for this new breed of politician. No lie too deceptive, no partisanship too divisive, no attack too vicious. People all too easily let themselves be fooled into believing the dark visions of foreboding these leaders forecast for a nation led by anyone but themselves. They alone were the light bearers, the bannerman of God and Jesus Christ. They alone knew the truth about the United States Constitution. All others were pretenders. All others were false prophets of evil gods. All others wanted to destroy the Constitution, the family and the faith.
Yet somehow, there seemed to be so much darkness in their messages. Bigotry and hatred and violence became tolerable, almost preferred as long as it was directed against their "enemies" it became righteousness and truth.
I suppose looking back one might say that we should have known better. We should have seen what was hidden behind the unfurled flags and the red, white and blue banners. The imagery of Revolutionary Minutemen and tea bag tossing "Patriots".
It was the images of love of country and constitution that deceived some, the waving of black leather bibles that persuaded others. The distrust and hatred of government and the faith and trust in corporations and companies brought in the conservatives and fundamentalists like no other movement before.
Tea Party. Taxed Enough Already. It sounded good. It looked good wrapped in a flag and a bible. Something was wrong though, there was something ugly hiding behind Old Glory, something which would devastate us all.
Power came to the Party in two waves of elections. Once the power was gained, it was never to be allowed to flow in the other direction. All dissension was crushed. The Grand Old Party became a side note in annals of the new conservatism. No moderation, no co-operation, no collective will of the people. The constitutional separation of powers became a thorn in the side to be removed. The Presidential power coalesced around naming of Supreme Court judges and executive orders. Both Houses of Congress became little more than mouthpieces of the agenda. Domination of America by corporate greed and power.
When the Dept of Justice began its subterfuge against the old liberals on the Court, forcing them out of the positions so the Tea Party could name extreme conservatives to the bench is when I suppose more of us should have spoke up, but those were scary times. Journalists were going missing or being harassed and bullied into silence. The news was just a stump for the perpetuation and dissemination of conservative ideals and dogmas. The truth didn't really matter anymore.
Jobs, you had to love the Tea Party idea of a jobs bill. Repealing child labor laws, overtime laws, the minimum wage and any other "job killing" regulations was the hallmark of the early Tea Party policies. So, if you wanted a job you could count on fighting with children to get it and even then you would be working sixteen hour shifts with no overtime wages...and the money was less than I made when I graduated high school in the early nineteen-eighties.
In the end we sat by and watched as the new wars began. The Korean debacle, Iran's crushing defeat of the U.S. led invasion against it led to the invasions it led across the middle-east and even into the Caspian regions. The Islamic Fundamentalist strength grew as America fell.
We all watched as drafted American boys and girls headed off to defend America against her enemies...Afghanistan again, Egypt, Venezuela...always with same results....thousands and thousands of dead boys and girls...all for oil and natural gas for corporate America.
Taxes rose to support the wars at the expense of the poor in America. The religious leaders quoted one bible verse about those who wont work while ignoring all the teachings of Jesus Christ regarding the treatment of the poor.
I suppose it was kind of fun to watch the fundamentalist leaders cry out against their new partners when the Tea Party came to the conclusion that they no longer needed the christian vote. It wasn't that fun when they were dragged away and imprisoned...or worse. Dissension was not allowed.
And for all their talk, abortion was still the law of land just as it had been throughout so many Republican administrations in the past.
Public welfare and the Affordable Care Act had been repealed and abolished within the first one hundred days after the 2016 election. The poor were left with nothing to fall back on and so with few jobs available and the corporate stranglehold on small business increasing many people fell into crime to support their families. Of course the now corporate owned for-profit prison populations swelled until the wars came.
With the repeal of Medicare/Medicaid many within the health care system lost jobs as the poor could no longer afford treatment and demand for services fell with them. Hospitals and health facilities in the inner cities and rural regions collapsed without funding. These were not deemed profitable ventures by the business community that was swiftly taking over the health care operations across the country.
I would really like to offer some kind of hope for a resurrection of the United States we once knew, but it is gone. It will never return.
I've heard that the larger corporations are putting together plans for splitting the country into different units, but truthfully I think it's just talk. I think they're gonna sell us.
Europe and Canada have a great deal of interest in the heartland. The Mexican government has been ineffective in stopping the drug cartels movements into Texas, NM, AZ and California. The rumblings in southern Florida about breaking away and joining the Caribbean Union seem to be growing stronger.
The Tea Party leadership no longer has the military might at its disposal to fight the fight. Probably whatever will give the corporations the most profit is what's going to happen now.
I never pictured this as how it would end. I guess I always thought the world I grew up in where most people cared about each other more often than not would always be there. Somewhere along the line that slipped away forever. Personally I think it happened a long time ago with a little thing that was called the Contract With America.
That seemed to be when the shift toward hatefulness really started. Anyway, welcome to Tea Party America. What's left of it.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Oh, the snow still covers the ground, but as mid-February nears I am beginning to have my Springtime visions. I can see the dark, moist soil waiting for those first plantings. Do I till or no-till? Should I start thinking about getting the rotor-tiller running?
I can almost feel the soil in my hands, under my fingernails. What to plan for the year? Potatoes in towers again? Zucchini? Corn? Cukes? Peppers? Will the Romaine bed have volunteers again? How’s the asparagus bed going to do this year?
Peat moss, worm casings, top soil, composted manure…rabbit poop from under the pens…where to put the superhot chicken crud when I clean out coop? And the goat pens?
Hoping for the materials to really build my hugelculture. Ah, spring clean-ups, bags of decaying leaves and last years mulch just waiting along the curbs for me to come and take it away.
Oh, the grapevine, will it still be alive? Can’t wait to see the leaves on my fruit trees. I hope the prunings help them grow. Peach, Apple, Plum, Pear, should I plant some more?
Will the Jerusalem Artichokes flourish this year? Blueberries and raspberries and strawberries.
The seed packets are waiting. The growing soil sits waiting for its day in the sun. The grow lights still packed away for a little longer.
I love this time of year.
Monday, January 28, 2013
I suppose everyone has an opinion about various passages in the bible.
Divorce and Remarriage is a thing of constant turmoil, fractiousness and division within groups of believers. Some call it continual adultery. Some say that just the very act of getting a legal divorce is sin. Even separating from your spouse is a point of contention. Some might even go so far as to say one could throw away their salvation if they commit this deed.
Who are the players in this passage? The Pharisees, the Disciples of Jesus and Jesus. What do these people all have in common? They are all pork abstaining, temple going, circumcised, Sabbath keeping Jews. Born under the Law of Moses.
These are not Christians. These are Old Testament Jews. Not gentiles. There is no New Testament yet as the testator has not yet died to put that testament into place.
I’m trying to put some context into the situation. (Nehemiah 8:8 ) Which brings us to the question put forth by the Pharisees. “Is it lawful?” they asked. How did Jesus answer them? Did he say no? Nope. He said…excuse my paraphrase…Look, in the beginning God created ya’all to be together forever, but when the Father had Moses write the Law He allowed you divorce because He knows all about your hard-heartedness. Jesus actually acknowledged that within the Law of Moses it is legal to divorce and remarry. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) I should mention that the passage in Deut does include the caveat that should a person get a legal divorce and then marry someone else that it would be an abomination for them to then go back to their former spouse were they to divorce the new spouse.
I’d like to point out right here that the scriptures tell us that “sin is the transgression of the Law.” 1 John 3:4. If there is no law against something there is no sin.
That said, I realize that there are many other verses used to debate this topic, but we need to understand first and foremost that Jesus said not one jot or tittle of the Law would pass away until all is fulfilled. Jesus said that anyone who broke the law and taught others to so would be the least in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19.
Now I’m going to lay out as many of those verses as I can so that you can get an idea of the “line upon line, precept upon precept” part of biblical interpretation.
Jeremiah 3:8 In this passage God actually divorces Israel and puts her away according to the law. Simply put, if divorce is a sin then we have a serious problem in that God himself would be a sinner.
Ezra 10:11 shows that it was believed that it would give God pleasure if the Jews would put away their heathen wives according to the law. I find this interesting that God would gain pleasure from such a thing and yet today if a Christian is married to an unbeliever they are told it would displease God if they were to divorce.
Malachi 2:16. Something is missing. It says that they put away their wives. It does not say that they gave them a bill of divorcement and put them away according to the law. God hates that. It was a treacherous thing for a man to do, since without that piece of paper to show they could remarry, women were forced into situations where they could be called adulteresses and stoned if they were to marry another. I realize that many bibles use the word divorce instead of put away, but the underlying languages behind the English translation us a word that can mean divorce because it implies dividing or separating, but it is not a reference to the legal term divorce, there is a very specific Hebrew word for that term which is not used in Malachi 2:16.
I want you to know that I believe Jesus when he said that when we get married we should stay together, but I understand that sometimes in order to be at peace it is better to separate. Still, working to fix our marriages is more rewarding than abandoning them, but I would never fault a woman for leaving an abusive husband or a man for walking away from a cheating wife. It’s not mine to judge another and certainly not in light of God having the same heart toward the matter.
According to the Jewish Law it is not a sin to divorce nor to remarry, so then what was Jesus saying in Matthew 5:31-32? The same problem exists here as in Malachi. The greek word for divorcement in verse 31 is a very definitive word describing a legal separation. The underlying greek word used for both “put away” and “divorced” in verse 32 is a different word that has no legal implications.
Jesus is saying the same thing here as he said in Matthew 19. That its been said that if you want to divorce you need to do it according to the law. You can’t just put her away and separate from her because you would cause her and anyone who married her to commit adultery according to the law. The bit about fornication…well if she’s caught…stoning was the only lawful recourse.
Jesus took them past that to something better…forgiveness. Not condemnation.
But what about Romans 7? First, note to whom Paul is speaking. Those who know the Law. Paul always seemed to be contending with Jews intent on cramming the Law down the throats of Gentile Christians. I challenge you to find a divorce in the passage. All I see is a woman who is married stepping out on her husband. Yeah, that’d be adultery and bigamy if she married someone else while still married to another.
I understand that the passage isn’t doctrinally about this topic, but people use it for that so I thought to mention it as well.
This brings us to 1 Corinthians 7. Verses 10,11 Paul says that if you are married, don’t separate, but if you do then stay unmarried. Paul isn’t talking with those who know the Law here. He’s dealing with Gentile Christians who did not have the Jewish law and so he is free to leave out the “lawful” aspects.
I want to make it clear that the word “unmarried” is defined here. It makes it clear that someone who is married and departs that relationship becomes unmarried.
You don’t take gentiles and cram Moses Law down their throats. That Law was meant for the Jews. The gentiles were a law unto themselves. They confirmed that the law was good when they did the things within it, but it was not part of their covenant. Theirs is a new testament.
Paul continues in verses 12-13 that if you’re married to an unbeliever you shouldn’t depart from that marriage. This gives a bit of a departure from the Old Testament’s Ezra 10. Signifies a difference between the O.T. and N.T. Contrary to that which some teach. The New Testament is not stricter than the Old. It’s just different.
Then Paul says that if the unbeliever leaves its okay to let them go. It’s better to be at peace with them. Verse 15.
Verses 27, 28 return to the theme of marriage. I would ask that you study the word “loosed”. Check and see how the underlying Greek word is translated in other passages. Its rather enlightening. I really don’t think I need to expound here, because it is so very clear to those who have studied line upon line, precept upon precept.
Finishing up with verse 39. A wife is bound by the law and we already know what the Law says. As long as she’s married to him she is bound to him and no other. When he passes she is free to marry.
Someone says, “Well of course she’s free to marry when he dies. Who doesn’t know that?” Actually there were those at that time who were teaching a heresy about just that. 1 Timothy 4:1-3 calls it a doctrine of devils to forbid people to marry.
I find the word of Paul to have embraced not only grace and truth of Jesus words in that we should forgive, but also the grace of God in allowing for our weaknesses through the grace given in the Law. In the end God, through Paul gave us the admonition of following the way it was in the beginning, but the way it was after the end of those perfect days in the Garden.
So that’s my take on the misunderstanding of this passage of scripture in Matthew 19. I believe that what I teach encompasses all the scripture and removes any contradictions without rending the scriptures. I believe I’ve accepted the scripture at face-value with a line upon line, contextual, exposition.
It is my hope that this will help some folks who may have suffered much at the hands of well-meaning, but ill-informed brethren.
It took me years of study and prayer and much patience to come to understand these passages and overcome the bias and prejudices of the brainwashing I received after first becoming a believer. I hope that you will be able to receive it with grace toward all.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Hours become days, which become weeks and months, then years and decades. Projects which seemed so important fade with the time and knowledge that they aren't all that necessary. Each passing moment another in a long line of lost opportunity.
I've recently rewatched the first episodes of the Matt Smith Doctor Who era. Five minutes becomes twelve years and he doesnt even realize it. The little girl grows up and he doesn't even recognize her. Happens I think with a lot of folks. All good things and bad ones as well, come to an end.
I barely recognize some of the old posts in this blog. My own blog and those moments I wrote of seem to vanish from memory.
There's been plenty of changes for me in the last year or so. Reminders of my own foolishness and my greatness. We all have it. It's okay to acknowledge you are a great fool as well as a great something else.
I suppose the biggest revelation of the year has been that I have come to understand the word "pretentious" all too well. My understanding of it being exposed by my own pretentiousness. Why is it that I seem to consider myself as one who has the answer for everything. It would be understandable that I would try to help someone if they asked me for such, but why is it that I seem to think I should shove my "help" into their lives when they don't even ask? Then I'm surprised that those whom I've "helped" do not seem to "get it".
I should have learned this long ago, but I suppose that even so I wouldn't have been able to "get it" either.
I wonder now if maybe even blogging itself is a symptom or result of pretentiousness.
The real problem is that I keep forgetting that I've learned it.
Proverbs 26:17 KJV He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.