Saturday, December 31, 2016

It Was Only Raining When We Left the Farm

I keep wanting to write a book about my wedding day, or even my life in general. This is the title I always wanted to give it.
   On this date in 1984, I married Perry Ann Stewart.
   Why, you may ask, would anyone get married on New Year's Eve? Trust me, the reason is anything but romantic.
   In 1981, I married an Amish girl named Bertha that I'd met and fallen in love with four years earlier. I was romantic then. They say love is blind. My love was deaf, dumb (meaning stupid), blind and stubborn. The girl had no business getting married, and she knew it. But I would not take “no” for an answer. So, after four tumultuous years of arm twisting – Way past the time I should have caught on – she agreed to marry me. I don't want to spend a lot of time on my anniversary talking about a past relationship; so I'll just point out that on our second wedding anniversary, she told me if she had thirty five dollars to eat on, she would leave me, hitch hike to Portland Oregon and move in with a guy that she knew out there. I gave her thirty five dollars, and she was gone.

   I actually met Perry while I was married to Bertha. My cousin Tim worked at the same hospital where Perry's mother worked, so they were acquainted with each other. One night at a bar in Warrensburg, Perry had won a pool shooting contest with the prize being a pony keg. She had no idea where to go with the thing, so Tim suggested taking it to his cousin Bob's (that's me) house where there is always a poker game going on. So Perry, her cousin Pat and the keg all rode up to my house with Tim to the “Perpetual Poker Game”.
   Tim knocked on the door and when I answered, introduced me to his friends and told me about the keg, which Bertha promptly ran out and grabbed. She wasn't very big, but she was brought up on a farm.
   When I looked in Perry's eyes, it was like I knew her. Specifically, I could see us being together; that she would become very depressed, but that she would never leave. All of this scared me half to death. As did the thought that went through my mind that this woman would be the end of my marriage to Bertha.
   Through the entire evening, I would not pay any more attention to her than was required to function in a poker game. I wouldn't talk to her. I wouldn't even make eye contact. This confused the heck out of Perry. The dynamics in the room being the way they were, she didn't even realize that Bertha and I were married. She thought Bertha was my sister and couldn't figure out why I wouldn't interact with her. After all, she was the hottest thing on wheels – and she knew it. Besides being beautiful, she was built like a brick outhouse and was used to being the center of attention in any room where there were men. Yet, I spent more time talking to her cousin. Pat cracked everybody up. He looked like the stereotypical Lounge Lizard. He had the hiphuggers, the loud shirt unbuttoned far enough to see the medallion resting in a sea of chest hairs. A freshly coiffed perm. To everyone playing poker that night, he will always be referred to as “Mister Disco”.
    When they left, I worked very hard to calm myself down. I kept telling myself: “She's from Warrensburg and you live in Wellington.” “This was just a fluke meeting.” “You'll never see her again.” “Calm down!” I was really upset. As tortuous as my marriage was at the time, I didn't want to give up on it. I thought marriage meant forever. Besides, there's that whole stubborn romantic thing. I really needed to get a grip.
    I don't even know what date that was, but I'm thinking it was in the spring of 1983. Then, on July 5th, Bertha left.
    I worked for a small town butchery at the time and they tended to lay me off in the summer when things were real slow. So with nothing else to do, I moved out of the house in Wellington, put my stuff in storage, and just kind of wondered around looking for good fishing holes.
    My brother Carl had just come back from 12 years in Australia and was living with my mother outside of Centerview, so I dropped by to see him. While there my car broke down and I was stuck.
Carl had met this girl and was absolutely smitten by her and kept asking me for advice on how to win her affection. I kept trying to point out that my wife had left me just a couple of months before – what did he think I knew about women? But he kept on anyway.
    One day my cousin Tim stopped by and as we were talking, I mentioned Carl and this girl he wouldn't shut up about.
Tim asked: “Well, you know who it is don't you?”

No. I haven't met her”

Sure you have. Remember Mister Disco?”

  I thought: “OH NO! SHE FOUND ME!!!”

    Carl eventually arranged for me to meet this girl he wouldn't shut up about. As soon as our eyes met, the sparks started flying. I couldn't help messing with her. A sort of game developed between us to 
see how subtly one of us could mess with the other and still have them know they are being messed with. We didn't want to actually start anything because Carl had such a crush on her and we were both worried about his feelings getting hurt. But the results were inevitable. Resistance was futile. Things got started.
    In January of 1984, Perry told me she was pregnant. By this time I was working at the butchery in Wellington again, so on February 4th we moved into a house in Wellington.
    I wasn't thinking about getting married. I had lost all faith in the institution of marriage. After all, I'd done it once. Look where that had gotten me. I'd also lost all faith in romance, for the same reason. Why Perry wanted to be with me so bad was beyond me. I was as cold as ice. Of course I wanted to get laid, but that was a long way from being in love. I was determined not to get emotionally attached to anyone again. I told her over and over again: “This is purely physical.” I also remember telling her: “Look, this is my life. If you want to tag along, that's up to you. Try not to make too much noise.” I'm sure anyone reading this has to think I was a first class jerk (That's the polite term). I'm telling you, you don't know the half of it. But if she was going to have my baby, I was going to be there.
    On July 29th, Leo was born.
    During the course of 1984, the butchery I worked at went bankrupt and the men that owned it and I all went to work for R.B. Rice in Lee's Summit, Missouri. By that Christmas, I was laid off again, couldn't afford to stay in the house in Wellington, and Perry, Leo and I ended up outside of Knob Noster, Missouri living in a double wide trailer with Perry's mother, step-father and her two younger sisters.
    Now, for the touching story of how we got married:
    Two days after Christmas, for reasons I don't remember, we found ourselves on the square in Clinton, Missouri eating lunch at a restaurant across from the court house. During the course of conversation, it suddenly dawned on me that if we were to get married before the year ran out, I could write Perry and Leo off my taxes and even get an earned income credit.
    With not a moment to lose, I ran across the street to the court house and applied for a marriage license. As I filled out the paper work, I found out there was a three day waiting period from the time I filed the license to the time we could actually get married. This meant the soonest we could get married would be on the 30th. I started checking around to see where we could get the deed done and my former boss, Glen Nadler, managed to get the pastor at his church in Wellington to agree to do it on the 31st. All we had to do was pick up the license and get from Knob Noster to Wellington. This didn't seem like it was going to be a problem. It was only fifty miles North, and the weather wasn't bad – yet. It was cold and rainy, but for December 31st, I felt we were pretty fortunate.
    Perry, her older sister and I headed up there in a '72 Impala. Her Mother, step-father and her other sisters headed up in an old Dodge van.
    Right about the time we crossed I-70, the rain turned to snow. By the time we got to Wellington, it had turned into something of a blizzard.
    The wedding was informal and strange. My former bosses, Glen and Larry were there with their wives. Glen was actually the best man. His wife took lots of pictures and then lost them. I didn't get to see them for 28 years. I suddenly got a phone call from her about four years ago telling me that she had found them.
    We wanted to have music for the wedding, so Perry's little sister Nemy sang Bread's “If”; a beautiful love song that nobody knew how to play except me. I ended up playing the piano at my own wedding. The pastor bought us a cake, which was great. He laid out a little spread for us, so we had something of a reception. It may have been one of the strangest weddings he ever performed, but it was nice. My taxes were now taken care of and there was nothing left to do but find a New Year's Eve party to crash.
    Everybody else headed back to Knob Noster in the Van. Perry, Carol and I went looking for a party...in the snow.
    We first thought to check Stretch's house. He used to live across the street from me. I woke up one morning to yelling, cussing and gun fire coming from his place. Turns out he had become frustrated with his record player which he threw out into his back yard and emptied his pistol into it. He was a fun guy to party with. Unfortunately, he wasn't home. Then, when we left his porch, the car got stuck in the still falling snow where we parked it. I tried and tried to rock it out of there and ended up blowing out the differential. Now, we were in trouble.
    It seemed no one that I knew was home anywhere in that town. Carol, who was thrilled to see snow for the first time in her life (She's from Mississippi), was in tears because the shoes she had on were not meant for snow and her feet on the brink of frost bite. We eventually ended up back at the pastor's house, banging on the door because they had already gone to bed. We eventually roused them, and they were nice enough to put the three of us up for the night in the spare bedrooms that they had.
    That night, Perry discovered she was NOT pregnant again – if you know what I mean.
    So thirty two years ago today, on a very strange New Year's Eve, a woman who does not deserve what I have put her through, officially agreed to spend the rest of her life with a man that does not deserve the joys that she has brought to me.
...And the whole world parties with us. She never has to worry about me forgetting our anniversary.





Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

I spent all year waiting for Christmas so I could write this essay.
I was going to write about all the things that are wrong with the celebration of Christmas. I was going to start with the very date that we celebrate Christmas on. I'm sure everyone who has done the slightest bit of research knows that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. Lately I've found it fascinating that the Bible gives the exact date that Noah left the Ark. It spells out in advance the exact date that Jesus entered into the Temple on the back of a donkey's colt. Of course it gives the date He was crucified and the date He was raised. (we don't actually celebrate those occurrences on the dates that the Bible gives, but that is an argument for another day.) Yet, the Bible does not tell us the day He was born. A piece of information I find conspicuous in its absence. I read an essay recently that makes a pretty good argument that He was born at the Feast of Tabernacles. I'm not going to try to make that argument, but it is pretty clear he wasn't born on the date Christians celebrate His birth.
The ways we celebrate Christmas started bothering me years ago. I'll admit right up front that it was the money involved that first started getting under my skin. I didn't want to come across like Ebeneezer Scrooge but I couldn't understand how the proper celebration of Christmas meant you were going to spend so much money that you either had to start laying away in August or you were going to be in debt until April. Or both. I could see the pressures this put people under; the pressure it was putting on me, and I decided that I wasn't going to participate anymore. I told everybody that I wasn't going to buy them anything for Christmas and for them to not buy anything for me either. That didn't work, by the way. My mother is going to buy me a present whether I like it or not. So is my son. I get cards from all over the place, and well I guess I can't just drop out of the whole thing. Like I said: I don't want to be a jerk. But the expense just bugs the Dickens out of me. I quit smoking because I didn't want to spend a dollar a pack on cigarettes. Now, they're over $5.00 a pack. I quit doing Christmas when the commercials you saw the most was for Norelco razors. Now, the commercials are all Lexus cars and diamonds. Are you kidding me?
Then there's the lights. I don't know why people feel compelled to triple their light bill for the month of December, but I must admit I really like seeing the all the lights. I'm just too cheap and lazy to put any up myself.
I don't like Christmas trees either. Putting them up used to be fun. Taking them back down never was. The real trees made the house smell nice, but you ended up with pine needles everywhere – not to mention the attendant fire hazard. Then I ran into Jeremiah, Chapter 10, and I now have Scriptural justification for not having a tree. I even became offended by Christmas trees, interpreting that chapter as forbidding them. I found out not everybody sees it that way. It seems there are a lot of things that people I look up to as Christians don't see the way I do.

However, this year I've suddenly become very aware of the importance of Christmas. It becomes clearer to me as I see all the forces so determined to eliminate it. It started with Xmas. I didn't think anything of it at first. It just seemed like an abbreviation. When people started screaming to “Put Christ back in Christmas” my first thought was that Christ never was really in Christmas. That goes back to my argument about the date and all the other problems I have with how we celebrate Christmas. I mean, don't even get me started on Santa Claus. What in the world does a fat dude flying around in a sleigh have to do with Jesus, for crying out loud?
Then they started with “Happy Holidays”. Still, I was not concerned. After all, the holiday season contains Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah...heck, there was a time when I considered the holiday season to run from Thanksgiving to the Super Bowl. Of course, that was before they started playing the Super Bowl in February. "Happy Holidays" to me sounded like encouragement to do what I thought was necessary to stay happy for two months of cold weather and reduced sunlight. Things that faith in Jesus have allowed me to see the error in and consequently to free myself from. That, too is a whole different discussion.
Now we have stores that refuse to have the word Christmas displayed anywhere, though they still expect you to spend an insane amount of money there in celebration of a Holiday that they won't name. We have schools forbidding Christmas from being uttered in their hallways, let alone being displayed anywhere on the property. Lawsuits are being filed to remove nativity scenes from parks and court houses, and now I've noticed Leftist groups doing everything they can to distort the nativity displays that remain. Disgusting things mostly that I won't even describe here. The War on Christmas can no longer be ignored.
So, given the current political environment where businesses are being targeted just because it is known that they are owned and operated by Christians, I figure that this constant and determined effort to eliminate Christmas serves, at least in my mind, as an endorsement of the importance of Christmas.
Someone said you can judge the character of a man by the strength and power of his enemies. In kind of a warped sense, I think that applies here.
My problems with the date notwithstanding, it seems to me now it's pretty important to have a day to not only remember that Jesus Christ was born, but to proclaim it far and wide as a testimony to the rest of the world. The nativity scenes, if nothing else, will hopefully cause people to wonder what it is all about; and if they wonder, they might ask. If they ask, they might learn. Once they learn they might decide to believe, and thus be saved. That's why He was born in the first place. Because God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.
Therefore,I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
...I still don't have a tree. ...I still didn't buy you anything. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

So...

So...
Donald Trump says to "Make America Great again".
Millennials are saying "America was never great".

Why is that?

For the last 16 years (As long as most Millennials can remember) we've had: First, George W. Bush, then Barack Obama.
Bush's regime started out with an attack on New York's World Trade Center and Washington's Pentagon. Who really knows where that other plane was headed, but the damage was done. That was followed by multiple wars in the Middle East without any kind of real explanation, exit strategy, or any idea exactly what we were trying to accomplish. Never mind what the administration said, none of it was accepted by the press. Nor it seems, by most of the population.
Then we had the collapse of the real estate market, the banking crisis, a stock market crash, a recession and ... you get the idea. Not a great time for America.

Now we have Barack Obama who by all indications, hates America. He campaigned on a vow to "fundamentally change America", and for eight years now has been lecturing us, telling us constantly "That's not who we are".
He has saddled us with the "Affordable Health Care Act", which is proving to be anything but affordable and if something isn't done soon, it will bankrupt the entire economy. He has thrown race relations back fifty years, and now our country is divided by not just race, but also class, religion, age, North vs. South, coasts vs. mid-continent, Urban vs. Rural, and to say we are being divided by sex would not come near to expressing all the fault lines being created almost daily.
Not only are our borders not being defended, but he has literally invited all foreigners to invade, with the promise of government subsidies for all. And when that hasn't strained our cities, towns and resources enough, he took to flying them in himself with tax money taken by force from people that are not happy about their hard earned money being taken by force and being used by our own government to finance a foreign invasion, all the while being told we have no right to consider America to be a sovereign country.
He has also taken over the education of our children and are teaching them that Jesus was wrong, the Constitution is racist (and sexist) and should be discarded, that Christopher Columbus was a despotic slave trader, our founding fathers were all slave traders, the entire country was built by slaves, and America as a country has no right to the prosperity that we have.

No wonder they don't believe America was ever great.

I, on the other hand, know that it was great. You don't reach the level of prosperity that this country was at without being a great country. I know that black people struggled for decades after their emancipation because Lincoln, while exalted in most history books for freeing the slaves, didn't have any kind of plan as far as integrating the former slaves into the rest of America. This was actually not just a struggle for black people, but for the entire country. This country, by and large, was not planned. It grew in fits and starts as the character of the individuals that it belonged to was tried and tested. It was built by the dreams and aspirations of those individuals (white and black, Asian and Hispanic, Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile) who were willing to dream, and risk and work to make those dreams come true.
Where did it go wrong?
Theories abound. Personally, I think it started coming apart when the government figured out it could bribe the people with their own money. Little by little, the constitution that was supposed to be the foundation of our government has been bent, folded and mutilated until now, the press is referring to our time as "Post Constitutional America".

Can Donald Trump make America great again?
I doubt it. I'd like to think he wants to, but I'm afraid the damage done is probably just too great. He's only one man, and if this election is any indication, he will be opposed at every turn by everybody in Washington; and by every press outlet. Not only in America, but apparently around the world. If he is honest about what he wants to do, the most he will be able to accomplish is to delay the inevitable.
But I will vote for him on Tuesday.
Why?
Because we only have two choices. Never mind all the talk about a third party, or forth party, or write-ins, or whatever. Whoever you vote for, you know that you are either going to get Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
You turn on the television, and you will hear that Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, war-monger, tax cheat, philanderer, Islamophobe, homophobe, rapist, mocker of the disabled and an abuser of children.
Turn on the radio and you will hear that Hillary Clinton is a vicious, treasonous, murderous, lying, devil-worshiping, child sex slave trafficking, greedy, drunk, sick, lecherous old hag that wants to finish the job of destroying America that Barack Obama started.
Every word on both side could be right....or not.
BUT:
Donald Trump says he is determined to defend this country's borders and put a stop to the disastrous wave of foreigners illegally pouring into this country. If you don't think this is important, then you haven't really thought seriously about what the end result of this government-aided invasion will be. If you don't know, just ask a Native American. Drive out to North Dakota and you can witness, first hand how the invader's government still treats those who were here first.
Hillary Clinton has promised to double the rate at which un-vetted foreigners are being flown in, while continuing to ignore our southern border.
Donald Trump is also running on a pro-life campaign. I keep hearing that he used to be pro-choice and that he only changed his tune when he decided to run as a Republican. That's fine with me. The Republican platform is pro-life, so he's rather obligated to honor that position. If he doesn't, that's on him.
If I vote for Hillary Clinton, whom I have heard say that children in the womb (yes, she called them children) have no rights, than I am voting for a woman running on a platform that not only supports abortion on demand, but is actually working to export it to other countries. That would be on me.
So, vote your conscience.
I personally think this country is doomed either way, but I at least want to be able to live with myself.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

OK, So I'm Sexist

     Anybody that knows me probably already knows that I'm a sexist. I always have been. I know there are people that will tell you that just by virtue of being born male, of course I'm sexist. But it's much more than that. I don't remember ever thinking that girls had “cooties.” I always thought they were the most beautiful, fascinating creatures on earth.
If you check the account in Genesis, woman was the last creation of God. The cherry on top, as it were. God noticed that it wasn't good for man to be alone, so woman was literally God's gift to mankind.(...and I'm not just saying this because I know my wife will be reading it.)
I said all this because I want to talk about a phenomenon known as the Feminist Movement, that I am convinced hates women.
Women are different from men. That claim makes me sexist, but I am thoroughly qualified to make this statement. I have my own test case that I have studied for thirty odd years now. Women are built differently (I REALLY like that), they think differently, they react to things differently and different things matter to them. Yet, the feminists will have you believe that there is no difference between men and women other than stereotypes forced upon them by society. They've spent decades shaming and belittling women into thinking that they are supposed to be like men, while at the same time publicly denigrating men.
They've done such a good job that now women and men have been pitted against each other in a senseless competition that neither side is going to win. It is making everybody miserable with the constant insults and derogatory jokes and threatens to destroy civilization altogether. This whole battle of the sexes is keeping both men and women distracted from what they could be accomplishing together while worrying about whether a woman is “as good as a man.” As good how? Men, whether they want to admit it or not (and most men are more than happy to), do everything they do to in order to impress women. Why would a woman waste time worrying whether she's as good as a man while men are turning themselves inside out just trying to prove they're good enough for a woman?
Let me tell you something: Theoretically, a woman can do anything a man can do. I say theoretically because there is that whole size and weight issue. Let's face it, men are bigger. If you can find a six foot, three inch woman that weights 340 pounds, I'm sure she could play on the defensive line of an NFL team, but why on earth would she want to? The idea that she might is an example of how the feminist movement has distorted our thinking.
Long ago in an orchestrated, deliberate effort, the feminists started devaluing women and the role they were playing in society. Suddenly, homemaking was belittling. Women needed to be “liberated” from the demeaning role of running a household and nurturing children. Somehow, you couldn't be fulfilled unless you were out there with the men, digging ditches, chopping trees, hauling hay, getting carpel tunnel and wrecking your back, while leaving your children at home while someone else watched them grow.
Now they think women should have the RIGHT to fight on the front lines in a time of war. Right? Are you kidding me? Nobody wants the right to be shot at. Men go to war for two reasons: Either to fight for something they believe in (...and getting shot is not a right that anybody believes in), or because they feel they have no choice. Getting drafted would be an example of the latter, and now the feminists are fighting for the right of women to get drafted. Congratulations ladies, your advocates have now won you the right to be forced into battle and get shot.
But there's one thing that a woman can do that no man can possibly accomplish: Bringing new life into the world, and that is where the feminists focus their attack.
They came up with the phrase “pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen” as their slogan for men “dominating” women.
I got news for you: when my wife gets home the first thing she does is kick off her shoes. She hates shoes. She wants to be barefoot, and everybody wants to be in the kitchen. That's where the food is! ...and pregnant would mean that she was going to have a baby.
When did having a baby become terrible? When the feminists started selling the idea that it was another example of man's oppression of women. So now we have N.O.W., the National Organization of Women, whose main focus seems to be keeping women from having babies. Planned Parenthood is the same way. They claim to be about women's health, but they don't do mammograms, they don't have any gynecologists working there, they don't treat ANYTHING. All they are about is doing whatever necessary to keep women from having babies; even if that means killing the baby that is growing in her womb, and the feminists are the club that beats back any opposition.
They want to talk about exploitation of women, but if you take away the thing that makes a woman truly unique, you've just turned her into a sex object. It used to be if a man and a woman made love, there was responsibility there. Not anymore. There's no reason now for a woman to have any kind of class or dignity. It's “Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am” and if she was too stupid to take her pill that day, you can just force her to have an abortion and move on. Now that's exploitation. But they're managing to brainwash girls into thinking it's their right to do whatever they want with their bodies and that the thing growing inside is just a lump of tissues. Why don't they teach them to revere their bodies and not just let anybody do whatever they want with it without any inhibitions or sense of worth. The feminists are intent on destroying all the grace, beauty and distinction that goes with being a woman.
You want to talk about women's issues? What about the way women are treated by Islam? In countries ruled by Muslims, women can't even drive a car. They are not allowed to leave the house without a male relative and their head covered. If they do, they will be beaten ...or worse. Do you know what “the Rule of Thumb” is? It's part of Islamic law that says you can beat your wife with a stick as long as it isn't thicker than your thumb. If the feminists are so worried about the welfare of women, why can't I find a single word on any of their websites or Facebook pages about any of this.
Then there is “female circumcision.” If you don't know what it is, I'm not going to tell you. Just mentioning the word gets my blood pressure dangerously high. It has got to be about the most horrible thing you can do to another human being, and they are doing it to girls all over the world - America too – in the name of Islam. The whole idea is that in the sick and disgusting mind of a Muslim, women are not supposed to enjoy sex. They are just there to be used for the man's pleasure.
NOT ONE WORD from any of these organizations that claim to have women's best interests at heart. They are lying to you. They hate women!
Still don't believe me? We now have a situation where men are expected to be allowed in women's bathrooms, locker rooms and showers if they say they “identify” as being a woman. Target has announced that is their store's policy. As soon as Americans see this, the first thing that goes through their heads (assuming there is a brain in there) is that their wives and daughters are no longer safe. Any guy can now stroll into the women's shower at the local YWCA with impunity.
North Carolina decided already that this will not happen in their state. Incidents had already occurred where men had gone into the women's room to take pictures and videos of girls using the bathroom; holding their phones either over or under the door of the stall. One man was caught taking a video of a young woman in the shower at the gym. Another woman told of being in a rest room that didn't even have doors on the stalls (WTH?), and having a man just stand there and gaze at her while she was trying to go to the bathroom. North Carolina passed a law that says you will use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex listed on your birth certificate. God help the moron that tries to take a picture of my wife in the ladies room. If he's lucky, I'll be close enough to hear the screaming before she kills him; and if he's really lucky the doctors will be able to remove the recording device from whichever orifice she stuffs it in. Then she'll run over and cry on my shoulder, because she is a delicate feminine flower.
A quick check of the N.O.W. web site shows that they are trying to pressure the NFL into moving this month's league meetings out of Charlotte unless the state rescinds the law that was written to protect girls and women from perverts and predators. They're more worried about gay rights than they are about women's rights, privacy, or safety. How's that for women's advocacy?
Men used to adore women. They would defer to any woman in the room. The cry “Women and children first!” meant that men would give their lives to protect the lives of the women and children in times of extreme danger. Men would give up their seat on a bus or train, tip their hat to honor any woman that crossed their path, stand when a woman walked into a room, open doors and carry any load that a woman - any woman – happened to be burdened with if they were near enough to help.
During the seventies, I remember specifically doing any of these things could get you cussed out for being a chauvinist. Today I hear that chivalry is dead. If it is, the feminists killed it.
I still open doors for women. I like to check for their reaction. I don't get cussed at anymore. They actually look kind of stunned. But I've noticed they like it.
Maybe, just maybe, real women are starting to want to be liberated from all this liberation.




Friday, April 22, 2016

I Am Offended!



Be patient, I haven't decided exactly what I am offended by yet. You can't rush these things. Being offended can be very lucrative if you do it right, but you have to pick your offense carefully.
Being a white, middle aged, Christian man, I don't have a lot to choose from. I guess I could do like Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who just decided she was black one day and started railing about “White Privilege.” I guess you can do that now; she became president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP.
It's also now possible to decide when I wake up in the morning which sex I want to be that day. I've always said I was a lesbian trapped in a man's body. I could put on a dress and try following a 12 year old girl into the ladies room and then sue her father after he beats the hell out of me. But that wouldn't be a case of me being offended. That would just be me getting the daylights beaten out of me for acting like a pervert. Besides, not only do I look horrible in a dress (never mind how I know this), I also have a serious aversion to pain.
I'm afraid I can't just decide I'm younger than my driver's license says. My back won't let me. It's also hard to get offended by people treating me like I'm old when that usually manifests itself as a 15% discount at hotels and restaurants.
It doesn't do any good to be offended as a Christian. Offending Christians has been a national past time in this country for as long as I can remember. Everything from a cross in a jar of urine being called art to the South Park pilot being a Christmas episode of Baby Jesus in a knock down-drag out with Santa Claus. OK, it was really funny. But it was also very offensive. I hate it when they do that.
I understand why people would make fun of Christians. After all, we believe in a book with dragons, unicorns (yes, they're in there but they're not pretty) and fish that can swallow a man whole and then spit him out alive three days later. Not to mention God being born as a man for the expressed purpose of being tortured and killed. ...and that's the good news. What I don't quite get is: if you put all of this craziness in a movie, people would flock to see it. It's true! Just look at how well The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston did at the Box office, and that was just one little snippet. But for some reason, nobody seems to want to read the Book, knowing full well that the movie never does the book justice.
There are reasons why people don't want to read the Bible. For openers, it's long. Really long. In fact, it's not even a book. It's a collection of 66 books written by 40 different authors. It's also a pretty tough read. If you start from the beginning (Genesis), you only get four chapters in before the genealogies start. I HATE those. Adam begot Seth, then Seth begot Enosh, then Enosh begot Cainan...and begot...and begot...and begot...and every time you think you're through with them, another bunch starts. I keep hearing about all these new translations people are coming up with like the gender-neutral Bible, etc. I wonder if anybody has come up with one that just does away with the genealogies. That would be a lot shorter Bible. That's probably what the Reader's Digest Condensed Bible does, though I worry about what else they might have left out. As it turns out though, there's actually some pretty cool stuff hidden in those genealogies, but you've really got to dig for them. It's just hard to fight through it.
Then, there's all that talk about how God expects us to live. The Ten Commandments (not the movie, we're talking about real commandments) and all that. That seems to offend everybody. They threw a judge in jail for refusing to remove a copy of them from the courthouse lawn. I guess the very sight of it was forcing people into therapy. Given its rules against lying and stealing, it must have been creating a hostile work environment for lawyers.
It's amazing to me that during the 70's I kept hearing, “you can't legislate morality.” Yet that is exactly what is being done now. But it is a completely different morality than what is in the Bible. In fact it's pretty much diametrically opposed to it.
The Bible says “you shall not lie with a man as with a woman (you know what it means). It is an abomination.” That's the Bible's morality. Today's legislated morality says if a man wants to sleep with another man, you have to cater to them or you will be run out of business.
The Bible says “you shall not kill.” Today's legislated morality says a woman has an absolute right to kill the child in her womb any time she wants and if you so much as try to talk her out of it, you could be arrested.
The Bible says, ”a woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination”. Today's legislated morality says that if a man want to dress up like a woman, you have to let him in the women's bathroom and locker room.
As I write this, I can already hear all the arguments about the Old Testament not applying today, and I have no right to judge whom someone wants to sleep with or what they want to wear.
Back up a minute! I never meant to imply that anyone should follow these Biblical principles if they don't want to. God knows I don't follow them even to the extent I feel like I should. (Forget about the dress already!) My point is that a morality IS being legislated. It's called “Political Correctness.”
You don't actually have to believe what I believe about the Bible to be a moral person. However, you would have to be politically incorrect. Political correctness was invented specifically to destroy every piece of decency and common sense in this country, and it's working.
This country has gone insane. How else can you explain all the hoopla over global warming while NASA says the global ice caps are actually larger than they were in 1979; Americans are starving all over this country while the government sends Billions of dollars to countries that hate America for “humanitarian aid”; our food is filled with chemicals I can't even pronounce; Americans who pay ZERO in federal income taxes scream and protest about others who are not paying “their fair share”; a presidential election featuring a woman being investigated by the FBI for more crimes than I can even enumerate, a professed socialist, a man everybody knows wasn't born in this country, and a Billionaire reality TV star who brags that while politicians have all been bought, he's the one that's been buying them. Then there's the homosexual community defending Islam when Islamic law says all homosexuals must be killed. I know the Old Testament says that, too (so their distaste for the Bible is understandable) but the Muslims are actually doing it.
So what can I possibly be offended by that isn't politically sanctioned? Make no mistake, I'm plenty offended. But in the current political climate, the things I'm offended by makes my being offended  offensive.  I'm beginning to think, politically speaking, the most offensive thing around is in fact, me. I'm afraid that would look pretty funny on a protest sign: STOP ME BEFORE I THINK AGAIN!
But in a country where the Federal government pays large farm subsidies to suburban families for the grass in their back yard, pays farmers 2 billion dollars NOT to farm their land, spent $350,000 last year sponsoring NASCAR driver David Gilliland and ran one of the internet's largest child pornography sites last year with 215,000 registered users and more than 23,000 explicit images and videos available so they could make 25 arrests, maybe I could get a government subsidy to picket my own front yard to try to force myself to stop thinking. If that sounds ridiculous to you, then it might just work.
Stay tuned...




Sunday, April 17, 2016

Why Would I Believe In the Bible?

     After all, it's one wild book. It's got seas splitting down the middle so people could walk through it, ax heads floating, asses talking (that would be donkeys, not...never mind), giants, fallen angels marrying women, virgins giving birth, folks walking on water, people rising from the dead, man! Has it got some stories!
I figured after the last blog, and all the talk about piles of empirical data on the side of atheist evolutionists, I might want to talk about what the Bible has that would cause me to believe in it.
There was a story on the internet about someone suing Italy for the Romans killing Jesus. I commented that nobody killed Jesus. He gave up His life voluntarily so that we might be saved from our sins. Someone posted back and asked if I knew how ridiculous that sounded. I had to write back and say that I did. I didn't want to write a two thousand word essay explaining why I believed such a ridiculous idea, so I just suggested that he read the Bible if he was interested in knowing the details. In the two years since, I've felt like I should have written the essay. I guess this is that essay.
I really don't expect to change anyone's mind with this. I've figured out that people believe what they want to believe, and unless they are looking to be convinced, you're not going to convince them it's daytime if you show them the sun. The Bible can be easily proven a hundred different ways to be the Word of God, but if you don't want to believe it, you just aren't going to.
This blog is for people that do believe, or at least want to, if someone would just show them one piece of proof.
I read a long comment by a guy who said that Christians don't think. They are not allowed to. If you think, then you will doubt. If you have a single doubt, then you can't be saved because salvation requires absolute faith.
Well, I think. I also listen. I've found out that no matter what you've experienced, there is a way to discount it. I've mentioned before, Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Everything in my life can be seen as a miracle...or not.
I've been told that I believe because that's what I've been taught. Others don't believe because they've been taught not to. So who's right?
I will tell you that everything that is written in the Bible that can be verified one way or the other has been proven to be true. Others have told me that isn't true. That all kinds of scientific evidence has been collected contradicting the Biblical account. I say that scientific evidence is either misinterpreted or fraudulent.
I can tell you, and this is not hypothetical, that science has found a link between abortion and breast cancer. If you believe in abortion rights, you will no doubt tell me that is fraudulent.
The point is: Unless you've experienced it personally, everything you think you know is hearsay. We can trade this stuff back and forth all day, with each person claiming the other has been lied to. To Christians who think – like me, all this stuff can cause you to wonder if maybe you do believe in fairy tales. After all, everything can be explained away...almost.
For those Christians, like me who probably think too much, there is one place you can turn for proof.
Israel.
With that one word, I've probably lost a whole lot of readers. (Actually, I wish I had a whole lot of readers to lose.)
You see, the Bible, among other things is a history book. Written over two thousand years ago, it presents a complete history of Israel, from the beginning of time to the end of the world. There are those that will tell you the Bible was really written in the 4th century AD by the Catholic Church. I always find this argument amusing. If the Catholic Church wrote the Bible, you would think that some of their doctrine would be found in there somewhere. The fact is, the Catholic Church turned itself inside out for centuries trying to keep the Bible out of the hands of the masses for fear they would find out that the church's teachings and the Bible have virtually nothing in common. But that's OK. What's a few hundred years between friends. You can say it was written eighteen hundred years ago and it would still be amazing what it says about Israel.
To believe the Bible, you must believe that every word of it was written by men who were led by the Holy Spirit. In other words: God.
Now God, being omniscient knows everything. He alone knows the future in its entirety. So an easy way to test whether the Bible is the Word of God is to see how it relates to what has actually been  going on. Controversy swirls over whether this thing or that thing actually happened or if it actually went down according to the Bible's telling of it. But when it comes to Israel, it's pretty easy to check the facts.
Let's take a quick look at what the Bible says about the nation of Israel. I try not to do a whole lot of “chapter and verse” because we're just having a discussion here and I've seen an incredible amount of garbage being sold using chapter and verse. What I like to do when I'm researching something is to take the chapter and verse that's given and go read the whole chapter. I get a little better context that way and a lot of times, I end up learning something I didn't even intend to.
With that in mind, you can go to the forth chapter of Deuteronomy and read where God, even as the brand new nation of Israel is preparing to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land, is already telling them that the day would come when they would anger Him to the point of throwing them from the land and making it desolate, while what's left of the children of Israel will be scattered all over the world. The first few chapters of Ezekiel make the same point and go into a little more detail, showing that they would be chased around for centuries by folks intent on killing them all off.
Several of these people are in the Bible itself. Haman comes to mind, from the book of Ester. Daniel talks about the “abomination that brings desolation.” History has shown that to be Antiochus IV Epiphanes from around 170 BC. I love bringing this guy up, mainly because I finally figured out how to pronounce his name. Daniel prophesied about him over six hundred years before he was born. He brought on the revolt of the Maccabees that gave rise to the Hanuka celebration, and Jesus uses him as a model for the anti-Christ.
Then the Romans in 70 AD sacked Jerusalem and tore down the temple, just like Jesus said they would do and in 135 AD the Romans expelled the Jews from Jerusalem, tore down the city and put up another city with a whole different name: Ælia Capitolina. Suddenly, Israel and particularly Jerusalem no longer exist.
This gave rise to all sorts of bizarre interpretations of the Bible. Early church leaders were intensely antisemitic. They began teaching that Israel had been judged by God for killing Jesus and that the church now replaced Israel in all the prophesies concerning future events. The church now receives all God's blessings as related in the Old Testament and the Jews have received all the curses. This was all very easy to sell because Israel no longer existed.
During the Middle Ages, Jerusalem got its name back as the crusaders and the Muslims fought over control of the “City of Our Lord.” While the two groups fought battles all over the area, the one thing they had in common was they both loved killing Jews. The Protestant soldiers used to hold contests to see how many Jewish babies they could fit onto a single sword.
Then there were the French, Spanish, and Portuguese Inquisitions which mainly were concerned with converted Jews who were accused of failing to quit being Jews. They would still observe the Sabbath on Saturday, or celebrate Passover or whatever. Since before the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the church was more concerned with not having anything in common with the Jews than they were with observing the teachings in the Bible.
Then we had Hitler. He was so Satanically obsessed with killing off the Jewish race that he actually succeeded in garnering sympathy for the Jews. Looking back through history, that was quite a trick.
Through all of this, it became easier and easier to discount the Bible as a collection of cool stories that couldn't possibly have actually happened, other than a few historical points here and there.
Then a funny thing happened. On May 14th 1948, Israel was suddenly reborn as a Jewish nation again. Just as the Bible said it would in Isiah chapter 66 (“Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?”), in Ezekiel, chapters 33, 36 and 37 and the 31st chapter of Jeremiah, among other places. You will note that these three books were written during the Babylonian captivity, but not all that is said can be applied to the Israel that existed between their return from that captivity and the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. For instance: the quote that I snuck in above from Isiah, and the repeated reference to them being scattered all over the world. In the eleventh chapter of Isiah it says, “The Lord shall set His hand again a second time to recover the remnant of His people.” I encourage you to read these chapters in a good study Bible. Read the footnotes and chase down the references supplied.
Now, I fully understand that nobody likes Israel. Nobody ever liked Israel. I said I wouldn't do this, but you gotta check out Psalm 83:4 – They have said, “Come, let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” As you read the next few verses of that psalm, those tribes listed represent the five nations (look them up) that all attacked Israel on May 15th, 1948 – the very day after the United Nations voted Israel into existence. Israel didn't even have a single tank. At its narrowest point, it was only nine miles wide. If the armies assembled against it could have only managed to move through those nine miles, they would have cut the new nation in half and victory would have been assured.
But NO!...They couldn't get it done.
Over the next 25 years, Israel was attacked again and again, yet the attacks only served to increase the size of the nation. Now we hear all these reports about how the Jews are illegally occupying the land and how they are oppressing the Palestinians and on and on and on. The stories I've heard about the Zionist conspiracies defy the imagination. They are behind everything – I mean EVERYTHING that is wrong in this world.
I'm not here to make a political argument, though it does seem a little unreasonable to me to begrudge a people their own country with a land mass that would qualify as the seventh smallest state in America. It's size is somewhere between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But God didn't grant this land to the Jews because they were such wonderful people. God promised this land to Jacob (Israel) and his descendants as an ever lasting inheritance because Abraham, Jacob's grandfather was His friend.
So to sum it all up: Israel historically, militarily, politically and logically has no business being there. Of all the stories in the Bible, the very existence of Israel today is about the most unbelievable. Yet there it is – just like the Bible said it would be and despite every attempt to make it go away.
When they succeed in destroying Israel, then you can try to convince me that the Bible isn't in fact, the Word of God.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Religion of Science


     Christians are anti-science. I hear that all the time. Scientists have learned all these things about the earth, space, the origin of life and Christians are just ignorant. They cling to their ancient stories and fairy tales and refuse to accept the facts that science has produced.
     The fact is that science, by definition, is the art of observation. What they pass off as science now is a collection of theories and speculations that require leaps of faith far more astounding than anything a Christian would have to make.
     They can tell you how the universe began: In the beginning there was nothing. Then, it exploded.
     They can tell you where life came from...kind of. Something about a primordial soup, some mysterious proteins, some sort of energy was applied and voilá! We have life. They don't know what kind of energy. They don't know where the proteins came from. They don't know the details because no one was there. Try as they might, they can't reproduce it in a laboratory. We just have to take their word for it...on faith.
     They can tell us where we (people) came from: Evolution. The holy grail of science. Make no mistake, science has become a religion. The religion that has been established by a government that is constitutionally forbidden from establishing a religion. If you don't believe it is a religion, try questioning any of their tenets of faith and see what happens. You will be ridiculed, vilified, ostracized, boycotted, and stripped of whatever scientific credentials you may have had. If they could legally burn you at the stake, they would.
     Look what happened to Kansas in 1999 when they had the audacity to make the teaching of evolution non-mandatory. They were threatened with lawsuits. Publishers of science text books boycotted the state and refused to sell the state's school districts text books. It didn't take long before the state buckled under the pressure. Then in 2005, they tried to introduce a Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plan. This time, the threats and ridicule stopped them before it could even be implemented.
     Yet there are major flaws in Darwin's pet theory. It flies in the face of the second law of thermal dynamics which states that everything, without an outside influence, moves from a state of order to disorder. Darwin's theory states just the opposite: That we started with a single cell organism that over time grew ever more complex until that single cell became the parent, as it were, of every plant and animal on earth. It would be the same as throwing everything from a junk yard into a giant cement mixer and having a fully functional Boeing 747 airliner come out. You mention this to proponents of Darwin and they will tell you that you are discounting the time factor. That given enough time, anything can happen. Wrong! Time only makes it worse. Given enough time, what you would have is dust.
     Then there is the law of bio-genesis. I love this one. It states that life can only come from life. It cannot be produced any other way. This is the law that is killing the Darwin advocates. They are determined to prove this law false. All by itself it says Darwin may have sniffed a few too many plants during his botanical voyage on the Beagle. The problem for evolutionists is, the more they try to disprove it, the more they actually prove it.
     But if you intend to work in any field of science, you best not mention any of this. It's BLASPHEMY! There is no other way to put it. You might as well tell a Catholic that the Pope isn't infallible.
     There is a whole list of professors who have lost their job at major universities for even mentioning “Intelligent Design.”
     A school of thought is emerging that people were actually seeded on this planet by an alien race from somewhere in space. This idea isn't gaining much traction, but you can at least explore the idea without losing your job. Apparently, any thought is worth exploring as long as it doesn't mention God.
I've been trying to figure out exactly when the scientific community became so hostile to faith in God. So hostile that they are willing to manipulate evidence, lie about fossil records, and shout down anyone who would suggest that the myriad intricate systems necessary for the human body to function could not have happened by accident, or chance.
     Joseph Lister, Robert Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Lord Kelvin (the guy that came up with absolute zero temperature), Louis Pasteur (the man that invented pasteurization), Francis Bacon (NOT the guy that turned pork bellies into delicious breakfast food. He was actually the man that developed the Scientific Method), Johann Kepler, James Simpson, Gregor Mendel (Genetics), Leonardo Da Vinci, the list goes on and on of great scientists and inventors who believed in God. Even Albert Einstein famously said “the more I study science, the more I believe in God.”
     Then in the nineteenth century, a geologist (Charles Lyell), a couple of botanists (Joseph Hooker & Asa Gray) and Charles Darwin, who's biography has him as a botanist and a geologist as well as a zoologist, all got to know each other. The botanists had a problem. They were trying to figure out how forty different species of plants seem to grow only in the Eastern part of North America and in Japan, among other apparent geographic anomalies. The geologist, for his part had come up with a revolutionary idea for how the earth formed all the different geological features it has. This idea has become known as Uniformitarianism. That really is a word, I swear! It basically says that all the processes that shaped the earth are still active today. This line of thinking would necessarily mean that the earth has been forming for a long, long time. Longer, by far than the amount of time man has been on it. This kinda conflicts with the account in Genesis, and in fact he left his position as the head of the geology department at King's College because it was a Church of England-based college and he said he wanted to “free the science from Moses.”
     The four men, all highly regarded in their fields, got to know each other and traded notes until they came up with a theory, brilliantly articulated in Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, which appeared to solve all of their puzzles concerning the different yet similar species they had observed all over the globe. All they had to do was delete God from the equation. If they considered the Biblical account of creation... Well, they'd have to keep thinking, wouldn't they? If they would have kept thinking, or maybe talked to somebody in one of the other fields of science, they might have found out that the thing doesn't work out mathematically. But hey, they were on a roll.
The debates on the theory started before the book was even published. All the debates however, centered on philosophical, religious, and methodological differences all the participants had. The Evolution proponents won all these debates because they had “empirical evidence” on their side. That means they could bury their opponents in data. ...and we all know that data, if you torture it long enough, will confess to anything. Those arguing from a religious position were arguing from a view of the Bible and God that had become so skewed over the centuries that they probably did more damage to faith in God than the evolutionists did.
     Now we have Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Hawking (believes in extra-terrestrial life, but not God), Carl Sagan (also believes in aliens from outer space), Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Meyers and Christopher Hutchens. This list goes on for a ways, too, but I noticed that the names I recognize are mostly great science fiction writers (I can't tell you how many Isaac Asimov books I've read) and theoretical physicists. Stephen Hawking seems to be everybody's favorite. He's definitely mine. He says, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.
Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” No leaps of faith there. Of course we just popped up out of nothing.
These are all people of vastly superior intellect. Just ask them. Stephen Hawking claims that he can think in eleven dimensions. They have all fallen so much in love with their own genius that they believe we don't need God. We have them.
     They have their little club where any scientific idea must be “peer reviewed” before it can even be published in the scientific journals. So if you write something that agrees with their thinking, your ideas are allowed to be considered scientifically valid. If you have an idea that helps to cover up one of the holes in their logic, then you're a genius. If you mention anything that might suggest the line of thinking they started down a hundred and fifty-odd years ago is going the wrong way, you are labeled a Creationist and anti-science.
     I'm sorry. There isn't a Christian anywhere trying to say that E does not equal MC2. There are however, an unfortunately influential group of so-called scientists who not only claim that God doesn't exist, but will not tolerate anyone who would dare say that He does. Has their argument proven so flimsy against real physical science that they can no longer tolerate debate on the subject?
     I'll leave you with another Einstein quote... “There are only two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” I live according to the latter. Then again, I don't worship at the altar of Charles Darwin.




Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rabbits, Eggs, and All That Jazz.

WHAT'S ALL THE CELEBRATING ABOUT?

The baseball season doesn't start till next week.

     Of course I know of a couple of college basketball teams and their fans who are beside themselves with joy today. I love the NCAA tournament. In fact, it's about the only basketball I watch. Football and baseball are my great loves, and my wife deserves a little bit of my time once in a while, so it's not really fair of me to spend a lot of time watching a sport that I have a lot less appreciation for. But the tournament is awesome! Wall to wall basketball, in a win-or-go-home format. I love the emotion.

     But this blog isn't about basketball. Shockingly enough, it isn't about baseball either. Although I could go on for days about my World Champion Royals.

     No, this is about rabbits, eggs, and Jesus Christ.

     I'm not even sure exactly which branch of science this falls under, but I've read a few books and I know rabbits don't lay eggs, nor did Jesus Christ hatch from one. So why are we even talking about them all in the same context? OK, that's a rhetorical question. We all know that today is Easter/Ishtar/Eostre/Astarte/Resurrection Sunday/Whatever. What are we doing this for? We claim to be honoring Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for our salvation, but are we really honoring God by celebrating a Pagan holiday? Church goers know most of those terms refer to some sort of Paganism or another, and Jesus Christ didn't even rise on a Sunday.
      I know that Jesus Christ rising from the dead was a big deal. In fact, it's the biggest deal in history. His dying on the cross for our sins, of course, was the whole point of His being born. But that was just theoretical, until He rose. His resurrection was the proof that He was the perfect sacrifice and now our sins can be forgiven because of His death.
     But this whole spring ritual thing that we go through has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus or His resurrection. In fact, I'm convinced we are insulting God and what He did for us with all this carrying on about eggs and rabbits and assorted hogwash.
     This year we say He rose on March 27th. Last year it was April 5th. Next year, it will be on April 16th. How can you even plan for a holiday when they move it around all the time? I've got problems with Christmas, too, but at least it's on the same day every year. Why can't they do that with the Spring holiday? (No, I'm not going through all those names again)
     The obvious answer is that the holiday is tied to some celestial event. In this case, two of them: The vernal equinox and the full moon. The first ecumenical council, hosted by Constantine in the city of Nicaea (Nice) in AD 325 ruled unanimously that the Easter festival should be celebrated throughout the Christian world on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. But, if the full moon occurred on a Sunday, thereby coinciding with the Passover festival, then Easter should be commemorated on the following Sunday so as to make sure that Easter and Passover would not be celebrated at the same time, even by accident. I should point out here that there were a number of churches who refused to even attend this conference and who would not, under any circumstances, deviate from what had been passed down to them from the Apostles. These people were branded as heretics, hunted down and killed.
     So now we're stuck with this floating holiday that was put into place by people who were more concerned with not being Jewish than anything else. The more I learned about the details, the more it seemed to me that they were not as interested in having Jesus save them from anything as they were in saving the Name of Jesus from being associated with the Jews. If you're curious about the details of how we ended up with this mess, you can go to http://www.cogwriter.com/easter.htm. It's a very well written, detailed, long and boring article that explains where the name comes from, how it got into the Christian lexicon, and how virtually every aspect of the celebration is an attempt to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ while denying that there is any connection whatsoever between Jesus and those “depraved Jews.” Due to an incredible amount of unabashed antisemitism on the part of Constantine (“...in order that we may no more have any thing in common with those parricides and the murderers of our Lord. ...no single point in common with the perjury of the Jews.”), the official Christian doctrine, enforced on pain of death, intentionally and maliciously, discounted the entire Word of God because the scriptures were Jewish.
     Consider this: The early church grew to hate the Jews so much that they persecuted anybody that practiced anything that was perceived as being Jewish. Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, for crying out loud! The One they had been waiting for. While most of them didn't recognize this fact, there were an ever-growing number of believers working hard to get their fellow Jews to understand that.
     Now, here comes Constantine and subsequent church leaders that hated the Jews and persecuted them mercilessly... IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. So now, to Jews the name of Christ, who they didn't really believe in anyway, becomes synonymous with hate, persecution and death. The Jews have had their Messiah STOLEN from them by people claiming Him as their Savior; who took His life, death and resurrection – the greatest event in the history of mankind – and turned it into a children's festival. I'm not saying we should be adhering to Mosaic Law, but the church has developed a law of its own that is a slap in the face of the God we claim to be worshiping. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are to commemorate His resurrection. Yet we do, with pagan symbols, ham, and the name of a pagan god to boot. God threw the Jews out of Jerusalem because of their worship of other Gods. Just because you put the name of Jesus on it, doesn't make it God ordained....and we don't even do that. WE STILL CALL IT EASTER!
     We don't even have the basics down. We've got Him dying on a Friday and, “after three days and three nights”, rising from the dead on a Sunday morning. I didn't take calculus, or logarithms, or any of the other higher math for geniuses, so I may be missing something. But I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how you can get three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning.
     I did a lot of research to try to figure that one out, and as it turns out, it seems He was crucified on a Wednesday. It was the day before Passover, which apparently landed on a Thursday that year. Not the day before Shabbat (Saturday). Then you give Him three days and three nights (that would be 72 hours), and He rises, not at sunrise on Sunday morning (when the people showed up before dawn on Sunday morning, he was already risen), but at sundown on Saturday night. Now I admit that I had always believed Jesus rose on Sunday. Even after I got the story on what day He was actually crucified, I never thought to do the math. Now I'm thinking that there is not a single detail of this annual fiasco that can be found in the Bible.
     All the research I did for this had lots of references, both from the Bible and from other sources. I didn't bother to include those in my little rant here because I figured if it actually made a difference to anyone reading this, it would be pretty easy to find the stuff yourself. I did provide a link to get you started. But while this whole thing weighs heavy on my heart, I believe a majority of Christians actually know this stuff. They just don't care. Anytime I bring this up to somebody in church, they say that traditions are important. Something about comfort and connections to the past. Let's not forget the chance for the family to get together and fellowship. A lot of people tell me they just do it for the children. It's so much fun for them.
     OK, now I'm a curmudgeon. Sucking all the joy out of Spring. But for the sake of fun, aren't we teaching the children to grow up practicing religions that are contrary to what we claim to believe? I actually know a few practicing Pagans, and they are laughing their butts off at us. They know we are celebrating their holidays with them. How can we convince them that we have a better way when we are actually practicing religion their way?
     So what to do? I don't know. What I like to do is get a leg of lamb and eat it at Passover, which happens to fall on April 22nd this year at sundown. (Yes, it moves around a lot, too. But that's because the the Gregorian calendar we use isn't in sync with the Jewish calendar. It's fixed on the 14th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar.) I try to get close to Passover. It usually ends up being on the closest weekend to the Passover so my family has a chance to get together. It also gives me a chance to eat lamb. I don't go through the whole Passover feast thing because I wasn't raised Jewish and I would look really stupid. But I love mutton, and it's pretty expensive, so I kind of need an excuse. I eat plenty of pork all through the year (BACON!), so it's not like I've got a thing about clean vs. unclean meat. But it does seem a little incongruous to celebrate Jesus Christ by making it a point to eat something He would never have eaten. The children? Why don't we take them fishing. Jesus liked fish, and the kids have a great time...if you can keep them from falling in the water. My kids are grown now, way past the age for Easter egg hunts. But you never outgrow fishing.


     I'm not going to say that any of this is going to keep anybody out of Heaven. I'm certainly in no position to judge. I get as excited about spring as anybody, and the things that get me excited , as I mentioned at the top of this diatribe, have little to do with worshiping God. Like all Christians, I cling to the hope that Christ, knowing how stupid, selfish and spiritually clumsy I am, died for me anyway. But what I tell my kids is: if you see any little round things in the yard left by a rabbit, DON'T EAT IT! Even if it does look like chocolate.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


The World’s Worst Christian

 
        I hate Christianity.

               BEFORE YOU LEAVE THIS PAGE, I should point out that I am a Christian. I am called a Christian because I believe every word in the Bible about Jesus Christ. I believe He is the Son of God, He died for my sins, and He rose on the third day, etcetera, and etcetera, all of it. So, my problem is not with Jesus Christ, it is with Christianity.

               See, Christianity is a religion. As such, it has DOCTRINE. Rules concerning what you should do, don't do, think, celebrate, how you should celebrate it, and on and on, and it's all voted on by a committee somewhere, and most of it does not correspond with what the Bible says.

               I read stories and commentaries and such on the internet like everybody else, and I like to read the comments that go with them. A lot of these discussions degenerate into an argument about religion. Of course, there is always some troll who answers every third comment on the thread with something about the whole Bible being a hoax, Jesus never even existed, or something along those lines, and at a certain point, I get to where I can't resist. Partly because the troll starts to irritate me, and partly because the Christians who answer the troll irritate me even more. These Christians go after the troll with some of the craziest stuff you'll ever read, and a fur flying, eye gouging, mudslinging fight ensues, with language coming from both sides that would peel the paint off a battle ship.

               So I go in with some fact based defense of my beliefs, thinking that maybe I could get an actual debate started. That never works. Everything I mention is dismissed as a lie or a forgery, and as I try to counter-argue these claims I become more irritated at the names I'm being called and I find myself throwing a few zingers in there as well. Nothing vulgar mind you, but insulting just the same.

               But I digress.

               These arguments always involve an attack on the part of the unbelievers on Christianity itself. Here they have point. Christianity as a religion is indefensible. Millions of people down through the centuries have dragged the name of Christ through the mud as they commit some of the worst atrocities in history - in the name of Christ....and they still do!

               I'm not talking about the murders and ethnic cleansing that went on during the Middle Ages. We have ISIS to do that now. But there is still all sorts of embarrassment available to anyone called a Christian today when you look at the things going on. Abortion practitioners being gunned down. Some Baptist church in Kansas harassing mourners at funerals with some of the most vicious, hurtful signs you could ever want to stick in the face of a grieving family. I just read today about a church pastor that got twenty women from his congregation pregnant. He said the Holy Spirit told him to. It is so easy for people that don't want to believe in God to point at the things done IN THE NAME OF CHRIST and discredit all the things we claim to believe in.

               For me personally, I don't even want people to know I'm a Christian. Not that I would deny Christ. But I don't want to be identified with a lot of the people down through the ages that called themselves Christians.

               But worst of all, I find myself falling far short of the type of person who should be representing Jesus Christ. I try not to compare myself to others in an effort to make myself feel more holy. You know..."Well at least I don't (fill in the blank) like he does." I do, however, compare myself to the person I used to be in an effort to convince myself that at least I'm making progress.

               I believe that the commandment against using the Lord's Name in vain is not a commandment against using the word "God" while cussing. Not that I'm taking any chances. One of my biggest failures is in controlling my tongue. I try. Oh, how I try! I worked for a company that had me working in people’s homes every day, and I did a very good job, I thought, of watching my language around customers. Maybe not perfect, but really good. However, turn on a football game involving my favorite team and its "Katy, bar the door!" But there is one common cuss word that I will absolutely not say. Like I said, I don't think that is what the commandment means, but I'm not going to chance being wrong. After all, the commandment says "the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain." I don't like the penalty for being wrong on that one. Yet, I still catch myself saying things like "My God!" I'm really hoping that doesn't count, but I wish I could quit saying it.

               So what does the commandment mean? Well, vain means "useless; without effect", and I would think taking the title of Christian would be taking the Lord's (Christ's) name. So, if you call yourself a Christian, but nobody can tell any difference in your life or in the way you treat other people, that would be taking the Lord's name in vain.

               That is why I compare myself to myself. There are things I can point to where I’ve improved. I quit smoking cigarettes a long time ago. So long ago that I wonder if it even counts.

               I quit using illicit drugs. I remember the day that happened. The Holy Spirit definitely had a hand in that. Yet, I still get a hankerin' to get high sometimes. It doesn't happen, but I still think about it.

               Pornography is another vice I've managed to get away from, but I still think about it. One of the biggest problems with that is: where do you draw the line? Obviously, Pornhub is out. But what about Sports Illustrated? I love scantily clad women, and they're everywhere! My wife and I started watching Game of Thrones. A very dark series with a lot of violence and ... Naked Women! Somewhere during the third season, I started becoming disappointed that there was still a lot of violence, but a lot less naked women.

               OK, I guess pornography is a relative term and I still have a lot of work to do on that front.

               Then there's the subject of hate. Of course, as soon as I say I'm a Christian, it is automatically assumed that I hate Homosexuals, Muslims, Feminists, Wiccans, atheists, physicists, jay walkers and Democrats. This is all patently ridiculous. But there are a few individuals I can't stand, and a couple that I'd like to knock upside the head.

               There are, in fact groups that I hate. The Yankees, for instance. The Broncos. I even still hate the Raiders, even though they've been so bad for so long, they're hardly worth it. See, I'm a life-long sports nut and hating your team’s rivals is part of the fun. It's hate for entertainment. This is probably terribly wrong. What really drives me crazy is when a player that I admire (Payton Manning) signs with a team I hate (The Broncos).

               The whole concept of loving a sports franchise so much that you name your children after their players, you insist that the world stand still while you watch their games, and you hate their rivals probably falls under the heading of Idol worship.

               The more I think about it, the less I seem to be progressing.

               I went to church for years. Even ran the worship team for a while. But I had no idea how tough a job that could be. I was a professional musician when I was younger, but got out of it because I didn’t like the compromises that had to be made to make a living in that profession. I thought church music would be different.

               What I found out was, not only was the church leadership not always in agreement with my vision of how the whole thing should work, but musicians are by nature incredibly emotional and temperamental; and when I was working as a musician, either as a professional or as a worship leader, I became increasingly more emotional and temperamental. I ended up getting my feelings hurt, and I left. I was invited to run the worship team at another church, and that didn’t end well either.

               I quit going to church altogether. I was actually mad at God for a while, but I realized that it wasn’t His fault I was a flake. I just wasn’t cut out to be a serious musician. Problem is, I still don’t go to church. Once in a while I go, but it’s just so hard to get out of bed on a Sunday morning and most of the time it just doesn’t happen.

               I do pray. Unfortunately, I pray like a lot of other people. “Jesus, HELP! Get me out of this!” I’m trying to learn to “pray without ceasing.” At least, pray to God just to be praying to God. That is what He really wants from His people. He wants you to communicate with Him, and show some gratitude. That is something I’m becoming more and more aware of, and I’m trying to learn to make a habit of it. I do better some days, and not so good most days.

               I read the Bible. This is about the only thing I do with any kind of consistency. By consistency, I mean I’ll be absolutely obsessed with it for months, then I’ll get into some commentary that I like and I’ll devour that for a while. Then, the cares of this world will start encroaching and I’ll not spend daily time in either one for a while.

               Then, I’ll get to thinking about all the things I haven’t done for God. There’s no doubt I’m going to meet Him one day. I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins, so it’s not like I won’t go to heaven. But when they look at the content of my life, I’m afraid I’m going to be pretty embarrassed about what a miserable excuse for a representative of the Kingdom I have been. At that point I wonder what I can do to bring something to the table, as it were. I don’t really have an answer, but at least I can acknowledge Him by reading His word. Then I get back into it again.

               I’ve actually been all the way through it more than once. I’ve studied it. Sought to understand what it really means. I have found more cool stuff in the Bible than most Christians have any idea is there. That’s because most Christians don’t actually seem to read it at all. They read bits and pieces, mostly out of the New Testament. Most Christians spend so little time in the Old Testament that I’ve heard from some Jews who think it’s not even in our Bible. Professed Christians, for the most part go to church or turn on Joel Osteen so as to be told what the Bible says. This puts me at odds with even most Christians. I hate to tell people they’re wrong, and nobody wants to be told they are wrong. So what am I supposed to do?

               I guess the answer is to write this blog. See, I know stuff. Stuff that I think is important, but nobody is going to listen to me, because all anybody wants to do anymore is argue, and the first thing they are going to bring up, the thing I get asked all the time is, “What kind of Christian are you?” Well, if you’ve read this far you know: A pretty bad one. I believe in God. I want to serve Him. I’m just not very good at it. In fact, I’m just about convinced I’m the world’s worst Christian. But Jesus loves me anyway.  

               My hope is that in writing a blog, I can present some ideas that might actually be considered, if they are not in the context of an internet argument. Admittedly, these ideas will probably start plenty of arguments on their own. It would be nice if my readers would spend about twenty four hours thinking about what I said before they actually post a comment. If nothing else, twenty four hours’ worth of consideration may make your lampooning of me more intelligible.

               The main point I want to get across in all of this is that, despite my lack of any redeemable attributes, Jesus died for me. He died for you, too.

                Yes, even you.